First, I understand that "it depends upon how you think", so please don't bother saying that. :-)

I'm pretty new to TB so I'm just looking for what some more seasoned users think on this ... what criteria do YOU use to decide a piece of info is really a Thought and what material is best entered as a Note ?

(I have watched the TB101 and TB202 videos a couple of times, and a few YouTubes already.)
Hello Ward,

Thanks for posting your question on the forums, it's a great question to consider before starting a new Brain. Like you said, it really does depend on how you think and what you are using TheBrain for. Personally, I like to think in an outline format (titles with subcategories that have bullet points) so I tend to make Thoughts short and bullet point details within notes. However, I have spoken with plenty of users who have preferred very long Thought names. They typically use TheBrain for projects involving research, writing and file management.

To get technical, I would suggest trying to stay on the shorter side of Thought names to ensure that the file path each thought creates does not get too long. The Notes section allows you to place a lot of information in there and I would take advantage of that. You can always make a long title in the Notes area.


In my own Brain, I tend to put everything in the Notes. After adding to it for awhile it can either get to be too much info in one place, or I realize that I need to break it up into separate ideas. At that point I create a child Thought, or multiple children Thoughts, and separate my notes into each as necessary.

If you later decide that something doesn't need its own Thought, you can easily copy paste the Notes from your Thought to its parent, and forget or delete the child Thought.

Cheers, Sean
Both of you are offering a useful insight, which I have now translated into my-speak as Ideas = Thoughts and Details = Notes. Sean, I like that idea of building the notes up until they begin to show a direction or stratification that can be carved out as free-standing thoughts. Thanks to you both.
I don't think I'm adding anything new here, but to me a thought is a representation of something, and the notes/attachments/thought icons are details for whatever it's representing. When that thought is the active thought, I use the related thoughts as the context for the representation. Over a long period of time I moved away from pure hierarchic arrangements and now I link based on context and my needs when viewing that thought.

For example:
A Meeting - Notes are Detail
Book - Parent is the author and a second parent for genre, cover is the icon, hyperlink to GoodReads and then review in the notes.
Day - Date is the name, notes on what I did for the day in the notes
Movie - Parent is the Genre, link to IMDB page, review in the notes, poster is the icon.
Article - Title is the name, URL is the attachment, notes are my thoughts on it

I don't generally have long thought names, I find short succinct names are more useful for:
  • Viewing in the plex (especially when the plex is busy)
  • Seeing in search results (my primary mode of navigating to areas of TheBrain).
I also adjust Thought Names purely to refine search results. Additionaly, starting in TheBrain 9 the thought label is also searched in the quick search, so I usually add different search terms or key phrases in the label to further assist searching.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of Thought Icons. We aren't just restricted to the ones provided. You can attach a screen grab, any image, or it will automatically use the first attached image as the icon. Your imagination is the limit here, but a picture is worth a thousand words. [smile]

Another tip: If you do have an area with long thought names, use Outline view.
macOS 10.13
TheBrain 9.0.250

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