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Building a Second Brain: Case Study

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

Ever since I was old enough to come up with systems of organization, I recall myself being a very organized person. From my room, to notebooks, to homework, everything was in order. Part of the reason I liked everything being in its place was because inside my head it felt so chaotic. I could never keep track of thoughts, and if I could, they were jumbled with a million other things.


Throughout module 2 of Praxis, I've taken Tiago Forte's course on building a second brain. The idea behind this is to have an online living document of all valuable information you'd like to store. Perfection isn't the goal; it is practical functionality. All current projects you're working on, important documents you need, quotes you may like, all organized within online notebooks at your fingertips.


In this course, I've created the foundation of the second brain and learned different note taking strategies for the future.


Idea capture

The system I'm using is Evernote. On Evernote, I can create different notebooks for different ideas I may want to capture. The notebook system used in this course is called PARA (Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives). I generally like the simple layout of it, but I need to continue using my second brain to find a tweak that works a little better for me. With this basic organizational system, you can save anything to your notes easily. If it doesn't happen to fit in any of those, you can create a new notebook. The most helpful tool I've found so far is the web-clipper. I have it installed to my browser and I can save articles I come across directly to my notes.


Knowledge retention

The beauty of the system is not only is it organized, but it also has a perfect memory. If you wanted to know more about poetry let's say, you could save everything you found interesting at the moment, edit it down, add to it, etc. You don't have to have a perfect memory. You can just use your first brain for processing power, but the extensive helpful information is saved right where you left it.


Project management

This is one I'm still getting the hang of. For every big project I do, creating the smaller tasks I need to accomplish is intimidating, but everything smaller is not worth the title of "project". For this, I found the templates Evernote offers very helpful. If doing a project brain dump and starting from scratch just isn't working, the templates can work wonders. There are many to choose from depending on your project and can be edited to fit how you need it to. You can run multiple projects at the same time through the same or different notes. This makes it easier to see the bigger picture of the project.


Content creation

I am definitely somebody who uses the notes app on my phone, but beyond the title, there is essentially no form of organization. I was finally happy to have a notes app where if I come up with a random cool idea, I actually have a place to put it where I can find it again and it's not lost in the void of my phone.


I'm not someone who is super techy, but the system is straight-foreword and allows for easy modification and tangible knowledge. Overall I've benefited from building the system and I'm happy to keep adding to it in the future. I've grown in my organizational skills and potential.

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