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Illustrated Notes

How to Build a Second Brain – Part 1

Published or updated on September 17, 2019

This is little different to my usual topics.
It's not explicitly about how to build things on the internet.
But I think you'll appreciate it anyway.


I've been taking a course called Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte.

Much like it sounds, Building a Second Brain is about creating a reliable system – outside your physical skin-and-bone bodily boundaries – for storing, organising, digesting, and eventually transforming information into Good Creative Output.

Given that development work heavily involves designing systems and strutures, it's an approach to personal knowledge management that will feel intuitive for dev-like-minds.

Here are my illustrated notes from the first 4 parts of the course.


Building a second brain (BASB) illustrated notes on the PARA system of organising content projects, areas, resources, and archives BASB sketchnotes on putting projects in priority order and defining the desired outcome BASB sketchnotes on wiping the slate clean and setting up PARA as a folder structure BASB sketchnotes on creating metaplans before you start your project


BASB sketchnotes on digital cognition and building a personal knowledge base BASB sketchnotes on your notes being unpolished, personal, open-ended, and diverse BASB sketchnotes on considering 12 favourite problems to focus on


BASB sketchnotes on balancing discoverability with understanding in your notes BASB sketchnotes on putting your notes through 5 layers of progressive summarisation BASB sketchnotes on focusing on what resonates when summarising your notes


BASB sketchnotes on thinking of return on attention like ROI BASB sketchnotes on flow state as the pinnacle of experience, learning, and performance. As well as the biochemistry of flow state. BASB sketchnotes on solving the interruptability of flow with placeholding and breaking work down into smaller packets BASB sketchnotes on wrestling with knowledge by interacting with it in meanginful ways


To be clear there's no affiliate links or kickback involved in these notes. I'm not being paid to say nice things about the course.

Tiago's ideas and systems are just good.
He thinks everything through in a way that feels rare on the insta-internet.

Hope it gave you a bit of insight into the BASB system. There's plenty more to explore on Tiago's Forte Labs Blog and he's good at tweeting.


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