Building a Second Brain

PARA Part 7: Creating a Project Network

The Values-First Era at the dawn of corporate America told us that character was the most important thing. If you were a virtuous person, living according to principles and high ideals, you’d be successful. But then the cutthroat corporate culture of the 1980’s set in, and everyone realized they had to look out for their own interests.

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PARA Part 6: Small-Batch Projects for Focus, Creativity, and Perspective

In P.A.R.A Part I, I argued that the Project List was the lynchpin of modern productivity, serving as a dashboard of your current commitments and the bridge between actionable and reference systems.

But formulating a Project List is also one of the most difficult exercises for most people to complete. And I’m not the only one to notice. David Allen has written:

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Second Brain Case Study: How I Write Long-Form Blog Posts

One of the most common questions I receive is how I write long-form blog posts. And especially how I write them frequently, at high quality, drawing on numerous sources. It’s taken me a long time to be able to make the process explicit. The Building a Second Brain course is basically my long-form writing workflow…

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Progressive Summarization V: The Faster You Forget, The Faster You Learn

In Part I, I introduced Progressive Summarization, a method for easily creating highly discoverable notes. In Part II, I gave you examples and metaphors of the method in action. Part III included my top recommendations for how to perform it effectively. Part IV showed how to apply the technique to non-text media.

In Part V, I’ll show you how Progressive Summarization directly contributes to the ultimate outcome we’re seeking with our information consumption: learning.

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Building a Second Brain in One Tweet

Here’s how participants of Building a Second Brain, our online course on digital note-taking and personal knowledge management, described the course in one tweet (140 characters or less): How to take digital notes, increase their value, store them for easy retrieval, and use them for projects and/or to create new connections. — Greg Scholes BASB…

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PARA Part 5: The Project List Mindsweep

Welcome to the Project List Mindsweep, a step-by-step exercise to help you properly identify every project in your work and life.

Your Project List is a list of the outcomes or goals you are currently committed to, all in one place. It serves as a dashboard of your current workload, helping you grasp the current progress of your projects with just a glance.

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Progressive Summarization IV: Compressing All Types of Media

Reading through the previous three parts, a question probably popped into your mind: does this apply only to text?

It’s an important one, because we are becoming a less text-based society. Ubiquitous cameras, real-time video chats, and visual displays of information have become the norm. Which means expressions of creativity will increasingly take on these forms.

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Masters of Creative Note-Taking: Luhmann and Da Vinci

This post also available in Dutch Note-taking is an ancient activity, practiced across cultures, languages, and writing systems for millennia. It is distinct from simply writing things down. For our purposes, note-taking is: Personal, informal, quick and dirty: notes are optimized not for public consumption, but for your own personal use, like a leather notebook…

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Progressive Summarization III: Guidelines and Principles

In Part I, I explained Progressive Summarization, a method for easily creating highly discoverable notes. In Part II, I gave you many examples and metaphors of the method in action.

In Part III, I will give you further guidelines on how to make Progressive Summarization (PS) a part of your daily work. They have been gathered from several years of using the technique in my own projects, and teaching it in my workshops and courses.

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Progressive Summarization II: Examples and Metaphors

These are Layer 1 notes I took on an article on postrationalism, a topic I’m interested in. This is 373 words, which would take about 2 minutes to read at an average reading speed. 2 minutes doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider that these notes could have no relevance to the task at hand, it’s a lot of attention to pay for nothing. Especially considering this is dense, challenging material.

For Layer 2, I bolded what I thought were the key points:

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