Posts Tagged notetaking

Smart notes

P.A.R.A. is Tiago Forte’s “system for organizing digital information” (read more on Forte’s blog “Praxis” – The PARA Method”). Here’s how a Master GTD trainer uses PARA. (See also my notes on Forte’s PARA method.)

This video is a screencast by a highly competent user of the GTD system. He uses Evernote and PARA.

How to Take Smart Notes: a summary of what Forte learned about note-taking from reading a book called How to Take Smart Notes (affiliate link), which is itself based on a system familiar to many as zettelkasten using index cards. (I actually used this system myself for many years – very analog it is, that was part of the attraction.)

Photo by plindberg  via Sean Lawson | Zettelkasten Method for Researchers & Academics

Instead of notes becoming a “graveyard for thoughts,” they can become a life-long pool of rich and interconnected ideas we can draw on no matter where our interests lead us.

How To Take Smart Notes: 10 Principles to Revolutionize Your Note-Taking and Writing

Well, that’s nice, but my index cards did become and remain a “graveyard for thoughts”, and the same thing has happened with my Evernotes, tho to a slightly lesser degree. Which is why I’m interested in both Building a Second Brain and the app Notion.

How many brilliant ideas have you had and forgotten? How many insights have you failed to take action on? How much useful advice have you slowly forgotten as the years have passed?

We feel a constant pressure to be learning, improving ourselves, and making progress. We spend countless hours every year reading, listening, and watching informational content. And yet, where has all that valuable knowledge gone? Where is it when we need it? Our brain can only store a few thoughts at any one time. Our brain is for having ideas, not storing them…

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…

This methodology is not only for preserving those ideas, but turning them into reality.

trying to remember all of it is overwhelming and impractical. By consolidating ideas from these sources, you’ll… have an ongoing record of personal discoveries, lessons learned, and actionable insights for any situation.

Building a Second Brain

For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been keeping track of “lessons learned”, but those lessons and their associated action plans are scattered in different places, both digital and analog, and I want to develop a way to keep them if not in one place (although Notion seems to make that feasible) at least more easily and quickly accessible.

Building a Second Brain offers a system for note-taking and for storing information (PARA) in a way that stacks the odds in favour of notes re-surfacing when needed instead of staying “out of sight, out of mind”, and Notion offers an interface that allows many different elements to be easily visible and accessible.

The “master GTD Trainer” uses a great many tags, something I wonder if Forte would approve of, given his opinion that “tagging is broken”!

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Evernote, Diigo, Delicious

Update: This post mentions Brett Kelly’s guide to Evernote, Evernote Essentials, now in its 2nd edition, and there’s also a screencast. My original post, while it included a link to  Brett’s guide, also informed readers where they could get it for free. I’ve removed those references. Brett deserves the profit.
Evernote, Diigo, Delicious are 3 programs I use to take notes when I’m online and to bookmark sites for future reference. What are the differences between the 3? Is there one I recommend? Do you really need all 3?

Delicious is a social bookmarking website. It allows you to bookmark sites and keeps your bookmarks for you online. You are no longer tied to a particular computer or browser. You can add a descriptive note and identifying tags to each bookmark. I use the tags to help me find a bookmark. I don’t use the “social” aspect of delicious. I’m not interested in what other delicious users have bookmarked under the tags that I use, and I don’t share my bookmarks (I keep them all private).

Diigo is a social bookmarking and web highlighting tool. It does most things that delicious does, plus a few things that delicious doesn’t do, such as give you the ability to highlight text on a website and add your own annotations. It also allows you to store a cached version of the website (something else delicious doesn’t offer). I use this for storing web pages that I know are unlikely to stick around, such as Yahoo News pages (I think Yahoo! News pages get archived somewhere, but I could rarely find again a news page after a  month had passed). Read the rest of this entry »

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How to tag sites so that you can find what you’re looking for

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

If you are a regular user of the Internet, you probably have a way to record or bookmark sites that you like or that you want to remember for some reason. But how confident are you that you can quickly find a particular website that you bookmarked a year ago? Read the rest of this entry »

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