Another Attempt at the Analog Knowledge System

John Guerrero
2 min readNov 7, 2022


Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

The pen is mightier than the sword. Pen and paper have been the medium of transferring thought for over two millennia. That has to mean something.

I’ve been back and forth about this. I love the easy search function a digital system provides. But that’s typically where the love ends. My ADHD brain just can’t keep focused when I’m trying to write on the computer. This is a flaw I may never overcome.

So I’ve given the analog system another shot. Also known as the “Antinet" in small (but ever-increasing) circles, this system revolves around a boat load of index cards and some boxes.

I came back to the system because of my inability to focus. And the one tool that drew me to digital platforms, the ease of search, just wasn’t doing it for me. I started to over-analyze information at the cost of action. I didn’t know where to start. But it was comforting to know that, once I did start, I could easily find notes. That comfort was short-lived.

Some realizations after dabbling in both analog and digital platforms:

  1. Quality thinking requires a slower pace. Handwritten notes take time. And they require relatively more effort than digital note-taking platforms. Something that requires this much time and effort at least better be worth it. The high cost (measured in time and effort) should have high quality output. And that has been the case. I am more familiar with the content I write because I’ve had to digest it and spit it out in my own words.
  2. Screens are a distraction. This is my flaw. I’m not implicating digital systems as a whole. I’m just speaking about my own experience with them. I am jealous of those who can maintain focus on this platform. I’m just not there.
  3. Search function isn’t as critical as I had thought. Sometimes I can’t find notes I’ve written. And as my collection of note-cards grows, that problem will grow too. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to get around that, but I am counting on my constant interaction with the analog system to overcome that search challenge.
  4. Summarizing ideas is tough, but beneficial. Summarizing is the product of analysis. Analysis is a prerequisite to summarizing otherwise I’d come up with incoherent notes. Sometimes I write incoherent notes- but it makes sense at the time of writing. The more I engage with this system, the more I refine my process. Efficiency increases.
  5. I get to practice my handwriting. When I first started, my hand would hurt because I haven’t done this much writing in a while. But now that I’m somewhat used to handwriting, I can focus on my penmanship- something we all can improve upon.

So here goes. Another attempt at the analog system.



John Guerrero

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