How To Create And Maintain Your Second Brain (Summary Of Tiago Forte’s Latest Bestseller)

Yesterday, I presented the power of a second brain (digital reference system), enabling you to effortlessly create out of the blue.

According to the now best-selling book Building A Second Brain (affiliate link) by course leader and productivity expert Tiago Forte, this is how you do it. It’s easier than you think:

The notetaking app is your second brain, the home for everything you want to save. There are many different apps to choose. Personally I am a big fan of Mem.ai while Forte is a dedicated Evernote-user. The key is to get started and not get too hung up with what tool you use. To help you with the selection, Forte has given some guidelines here.

Have you come across an interesting article with some touching passages? Or an important highlight in the book you are reading? Maybe someone wrote a social media post that filled you with empathy and wonder? Or you might have found the breakthrough idea you always have wanted?

In any of these cases, you want to save them to your note-taking app. If they are text on your computer, just copy and paste them to a new note. If not, you can just type them in or use pictures.

You want to develop the critical habit of feeling “I liked it, I need to save it”, or “This was important, I need to save it” whenever you find interesting things from the web or by yourself. Associate the feeling of excitement with the copy and paste to your notes. As long as you do this, you will have no problem feeding your second brain.

Tiago Forte recommends an organizing system called PARA, in which you group notes depending on how relevant they are to you at a particular time. The most needed notes should stay close to you while less actionable notes should be in the background. You can also use the search function to get what you want. Favorite the most relevant notes and link some together as you go.

Whenever you read your notes again, you want to make it easier for your future self to see what was the most essential message in it. In the same way as you captured the note, you want to apply layers of highlights to make the important words stand out. Start with bolding them, then background highlight (or underline) and an executive summary. Only do this with passages that deserve this special attention. Learn more about it here.

A report, book, article, assignment or other creative project is ultimately a constillation of many pieces, which can be your notes. You want to see your notes as lego blocks which you can quickly use to assemble a creation. Then you can reuse the same pieces for future creations. This is how you get compound interest from creating all the time.

Because after all, you only know what you make. Use the power of your second brain to make the world a better place!

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