I recently got interested in an app called Notion that many have been touting as the new Evernote but better, and I wrote about it here. Several of the most prominent Notion users on YouTube also mention PARA and Building a Second Brain as principles on which they build their Notion system.

So what is PARA? What is Building a Second Brain? Here’s my Notion notes on the subject.

Here’s what I learned about Building a Second Brain

The next Building A Second Brain course is not yet accepting applicants, so I signed up instead for Tiago Forte’s email newsletter, and read and took notes (see the link above) on one article in the first email, One-Touch to Inbox Zero: How I Spend 17 Minutes Per Day on Email

There are 9 other enticing articles in that first newsletter and I’ll write about some of them in future articles. The “Throughput of Knowledge” and “Progressive Summarization” sound particularly intriguing.

I followed along with his suggestions for Inbox Zero. Took me 40 minutes! My work Gmail account won’t let me use the keyboard shortcuts he recommends (tho I learned that there are some for Thunderbird), nor functions like “Auto-advance”.

Tiago also has a YT video introducing his course. Apparently, “Building a Second Brain” was coined by Evernote. Go figure.

This point in the video got my attention as being key: Level 1 is where most people get stuck (me too). And this is one of the problems Building a Second Brain (the course) is apparently designed to unstick. Which is why I’m interested in it.

Tiago recently posted a written overview of his course here: Building a Second Brain: An Overview

My key takeaways:

  • Building A Second Brain is a methodology for saving and systematically reminding us of the ideas, inspirations, insights, and connections we’ve gained through our experience. 
  • not only for preserving those ideas, but turning them into reality
  • We spend a significant portion of our careers creating snippets of text, outlines, photos, videos, sketches, diagrams, webpages, notes, or documents. Yet without a little extra care to preserve these valuable resources, our precious knowledge remains siloed and scattered across dozens of different locations. We fail to build a collection of knowledge that both appreciates in value and can be reused again and again.
  • The Building a Second Brain methodology will teach you how to: Consistently move your projects and goals to completion by organizing and accessing your knowledge in a results-oriented way
  • It is tempting to turn on our mobile device or computer and immediately become immersed in the flow of juicy information 
  • Instead of organizing your files primarily by topic (for example, web design or psychology), which is time-consuming and mentally taxing, organize them according to the projects you are actively working on. This ensures that you are consuming information with a purpose
  • Keep only what resonates