We forget 90% of the information we consume just in 7 days. A calendar and todo list helps a lot in not forgetting important dates or tasks. But what about all the information you consume every day? It will disappear in a couple of weeks. That’s why we need a Second Brain, the digital helper for our own brain. Because our brain is made for having ideas, not storing them.
What is a Second Brain?
The Second Brain concept is based on a methodology of Tiago Forte in order to save and preserve information that you consume everyday. This could be information in any form: books, podcasts, articles, websites, videos, and voice memos. Together with your own insights and thoughts this will form your Second Brain.
The methodology basically consists of the PARA method which stand for Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives.
- Projects: These are current events you’re dealing with today, right now. This could range from a project for your client at work this month, a course you’re taking, an article you’re writing (this Medium article is listed as one of my projects actually) to a birthday party you’re planning next week or remodeling your living room. Within each projects you gather all the knowledge, inspiration, notes, documents and information. A project consists of some event that takes more than one task.
- Areas: These are the overarching areas in this stage of your life. Most of your projects will be part of an Area. For a student this could be “University” now and “Career” later. Under each Area you could have multiple projects. For example under my Area “Books” I have the books I have read, which all are individual projects with all my notes and highlights.
- Resources: These are all the articles you’ve read, videos you’ve watched etc. Ideally these will map to the Areas you have, but since Craft doesn’t support tags yet (they are working on it), I have made separate subfolders under Resources as well. I will replace this with the corresponding areas when Craft introduces a tag function, where I can give each resource a tag and filter accordingly.
- Archives: This is all the information that you’re not using right now and doesn’t fit in one of the above categories of information, but could be relevant later in a project.
I also added an extra section called “Someday”. This section consists of projects I have on my mind, but that are not relevant for now. By getting it out of my mind and in a project, I can let all the information about this projects accumulate over time.
Craft also has a tab itself called “Inbox”. This is actually very powerful because you can dump all the information you come across in the inbox and then decide at a later time what to do with it and under which section of your Second Brain it should fall.
Why I use Craft for my Second Brain
There are a lot of tools you could use, and they actually serve the same purpose. The reason I chose for Craft is because it has a very aesthetically pleasing look, is very thought out, and has a very nice user experience. This is important because making something fun and easy to use makes it more likely for you to stick to it. This is very important because your Second Brain should be updated and maintained every day, otherwise you’ll distrust the concept and stop using it.
The only thing that’s missing in Craft is, like I said earlier, tagging and filtering documents. An article you find could fall under two different areas. When you could tag each document you could have one piece of information in multiple areas or projects.
How to begin your own Second Brain?
- Gather: It’s important that you do a mind sweep and also gather all the information you can find including separate notes, articles in your reading list, videos you’ve watched about a topic, courses you’ve taken into one place. Off-load everything into your Second Brain.
- Categorize: List similar todo’s and information into one project and similar projects under the same area.
- Maintain: It’s important that you regularly update your Second Brain and learn to trust it, like your calendar and todo list, by always storing information that you encounter in your Second Brain instead of your own brain.
And remember: “Your mind is for having ideas, not storing them.”