Expand your mental processing capacity, think faster, and remember everything.
How can we possibly remember everything? Doesn’t our brain forget things as we go? Doesn’t our brain lose key details to events when the dirt of time gets thrown on them? Yes. That’s why you need a second brain.
Second brain? Wait, what? The second brain is a fascinating concept popularized by Tiago Forte and it can help you expand your capabilities beyond what you think is possible. The Second Brain also calms the storm in your head.
I was sold on the concept but then came the next question. What the heck do I put in my second brain? If you feel you’re in the same boat as me, this article is for you.
10 Things You Can Put in Your Second Brain
1. Insightful Captures
When reading, we allow the writer to enter our brain and paint an image on our walls. The words can spark new ideas, raise questions and provide solutions you may not have thought about before. Reading causes our brain to produce a load of ideas and thoughts. The problem? We lose all these ideas and thoughts pretty quickly.
That’s the first thing I want you to focus on. Each time you’re watching a thought-provoking video or movie, reading a book or article, or listening to an attention-grabbing podcast, write down your key takeaways in your own words. Don’t make the mistake of copy/pasting. This won’t do you any good.
Create a new note in your Second Brain tool and write down your thoughts, what you felt about the content you consumed and how you plan to put it into action.
We make plans all the time. Sometimes intentionally with friends, family, and colleagues and other times inside our own head. These can be related to work, future goals, finical planning, and more. The problem? There is more than one.
First, we often spend way too much energy processing these plans. We keep bouncing them around in our heads and keep re-thinking the same thing over and over.
Second, we can’t see the bigger picture and analyze ideas from different angles because our brain is busy trying to remember all the key details we laid out.
Your Second Brain can help you resolve both these issues. When you note down an idea, you allow your brain to stop trying to remember it and give it permission to start processing instead. When you write down all the iterations your brain comes up with, you’ll have clarity when making decisions because you can see things and scenarios that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
It doesn’t matter if you are a writer, designer, programmer, manager, or anything else. The bigger the project, the more energy you need to invest to keep everything on track. The most common tools like Asana, ClickUp and Jira can help to some extent but they’re built for the teams and do a poor job catering to a single person. Also, you can’t put everything in there.
Your Second Brain can help you hold key information, notes, thoughts, and points and provide immediate access. You’re also don’t have to worry about access when you move to a different company. The knowledge you acquire goes wherever you go. The more time passes the bigger this knowledge base grows making you more productive and helping get things done faster.
How often do we lose our written ideas because they’re scattered across multiple platforms? Or worse, how often do we forget an idea before writing it down? More than you’d like I’m sure.
You need to have a safe place where all your ideas can live together in harmony and be accessible to you instantly. You need to be sure where an idea goes the moment it pops up. This will allow you to bring ideas wastage to the lowest possible and help generate more of them by iterating over existing ones.
Journaling is a form of mediation. A place where you let your guard down and let your thoughts flow. It can help you improve your thought process, clear the mental clutter, improve focus, and much more. The benefits of journaling can’t be denied and many of the most successful authors, thinkers, speakers, engineers, and most renowned personalities around the world have openly given the credit for their focus and clarity to regular journaling.
That’s another thing your second brain can hold for you.
This doesn’t get talked about much. Our memories make us who we are. The good ones as well as the ones that haunt our dreams. Our brain sucks at storing information and is much better and processing and linking things together. Hence, with time, we lose memories or important aspects of the event, what caused it, and the after-effects.
If you start putting them in your Second Brain as they happen, you’ll give them life forever rich with all the colors and details of what happened. They’ll sit there ready for you to relive them whenever you want.
We’re leaving lots of digital footprints behind and most companies track that and use that to their advantage. This can be our searches, watch and reading histories, contacts, places we have visited, and more. Have you ever thought that you can use this information to maximize your productivity?
Personally, I like histories available instantly going back for years. I want to be able to pull up an article that I read 3 years ago but can’t remember the name of. I want to keep the track of a friend who I haven’t contacted in a decade and don’t have any phone number/email address to do so. I like to keep a digital footprint and my second brain helps me do that to perfection.
We are social animals and other people are essential to not only survive but thrive in this world. Our connections make or break us and nurturing healthy relationships takes effort, time, and commitment.
If you’re tired of forgetting people's names, their birthdays, where their kids go to school, what they like and hate, then you need to put them into your second brain.
Create a note per person and write down everything you’d like to remember. Update these notes as time goes on and you’ll be pleased to see the positive impact your relationship can have by showing someone you remember their kid’s name even 5 years later.
You can also keep a track of the places you’ve visited and what they felt like. You can have your internal review system where you track what you like/dislike about them, what they offer, their details, etc. Say goodbye to grinding your teeth when trying to figure out where to eat.
Where is your money going and where it comes from are crucial to your mental peace. And so is figuring out how to improve your income, reduce expenses and save for the plans you have.
This should be an important aspect of the Second Brain you build. Make plans, create budgets, set saving goals and track your expenses and that’ll help you in every way.
At the end of the day, The Second Brain concept is an extremely powerful one. It can help you organize your life, keep track of your past, be in touch with your feelings, organize your tomorrow and plan for the future to come. The tool you use for this purpose doesn’t matter as much as what you put into the system. You can look into Obsidian and Roam Research as starting places.
If you liked this article, give it some claps and subscribe to get more in the future. Also, let me know what your second brain process looks like and what do you store?