Building a Second Brain Cohort 10
Unit 3: Note Taking for Creativity
Goal is to understand how note taking can enhance and support your creative output
Understand how digital note taking should be the core of a PKM system
Four Main Functions for Digital Note Taking
- Promote unusual associations between pieces of information
- Creativity is connecting things. Creatives are better at connecting things, and note taking can cultivate that skill
- Create visual artifacts
- It is easier for us to interact with physical and visual ideas, so it is important that the notes turn into something more concrete than ideas in the brain
- This allows spatial reasoning and pattern matching to operate against our ideas
- Incubate ideas over longer periods of time
- Rather than trying to finish a thought process all at once, it is better to have a slow burn. Let the ideas simmer and develop.
- Generate the equivalent of passive income for ideas. Build up a set of reusable notes that can be evolved and reapplied over time
- Provide the raw material for unique interpretations and perspectives
- Interpreting things and having a point of view is one of the most important skills. You need to have a strong, well developed perspective.
- Use your notes as raw material to build out your perspective.
- Generating this material can be time consuming, so it makes sense to build it up over time
- Promote unusual associations between pieces of information
Personal Knowledge Base
- Durable. It should be reliable and not have a single point of failure.
- Universal. It should be accessible anywhere.
- Visual. It should represent your ideas in a way that can be visualized.
- Centralized. It should contain all types of files.
- Personal, informal, quick and dirty
- Open-ended and never finished
- Low expectations for quality/finish
- Mix of diverse types of media
- Notes are not optimized for the consumption of others, purely optimized for you
Why is it worth it?
- There is a set of knowledge unique to you
- It is good to treat information gained as an investment rather a fleeting thing
- There is value in having your own personal library
Unit 6: Workflow Strategies
- Learn strategies and techniques for using notes to quickly assemble deliverables
- Our focus thus far has been essentially informational mise en place. Prepping notes and ideas in a way that makes them easy to use
- Three pillars of PKM
- Knowledge Capture
- Digital Organization
- Project Management
- Project management hasn't evolved much over the last decades, despite the completely different digital first world we now live in
- We should manage projects in a way that leverages the freedom and adaptability of the internet
- "Creative products are always shiny and new; the creative process is ancient and unchanging" - Silvano Arieti, Creativity: The Magic Synthesis
- The creative process follows a back and forth between the stages of divergence and convergence
- Always start with divergence
- Divergence involves exploring ideas, digging into different possibilities, and trying out different pathways
- Convergence involves eliminating options, and narrowing down onto something concrete and tangible
- The work in this course contributes to this process
- 12 favorite problems works towards divergence
- Project list lies in the middle between the two
- This unit "Workflow Strategies" focuses on convergence
- 12 workflow strategies
- Archibelego of ideas
- Headings first
- Meta Plan
- Temporary Tags
- Status Summary
- Color Commentary
- Dial Down the Scope
- Context Switch
- Function Follows Form
- Interlinking Notes
- Advanced Search
- Table of Contents
- Archipelago of ideas
- Make an outline of key points of deliverable
- Do the thinking first, and sit down to create later with more than a blank page
- (this is super easy in Roam btw, pretty much the way I write anything nowadays)
- "Instead of confronting a terrifying blank page, I'm looking at a document filled with quotes: from letters, from primary sources, from scholarly papers, sometimes even my own notes. It's a great technique for warding off the siren song of procrastination. Before I hit on this approach, I used to lose weeks stalling before each new chapter, because it was just a big empty sea of nothingness. Now each chapter starts life as a kind of archipelago of inspiring quotes, which makes it seem far less daunting. All I have to do is build bridges between the islands." - Steven Johnson, DIY: How to Write a Book
- Headings First
- Use headings to create a map of the deliverable you are creating
- Focus on the broad parts and figuring out at a high level what the terrain is you need to navigate
- These could look identical regardless of the type of course for example, you could use the exact same map for any 10 unit online course, regardless of content
- Plan the plan
- Break down the project into series of easy stepping stones that can allow you to get started on something more concrete
- Allows you to complete the project whenever you have the time to make a little progress
- Temporary Tags
- You will be pulling in info from a lot of different notebooks for review
- As you search through for information, give it a temporary tag for the project you are working on. This makes it easy to find all of these things again
- (Again, this should be quite easy in Roam, need to apply this more heavily)
- Tiago goes through every few months and deletes all tags
- Status Summary
- Write a note summarizing where you are at to make it easy to come back to a project later
- Treat this like a bookmark added to pick up where you left off
- Color Commentary
- Take notes in your own words, don't focus on verbatim capture, you need to digest the ideas into your own words
- Consider separating your own words and summaries from what you have more directly captured. Either make it a different color, or prepend with mw.
- Dial Down the Scope
- Scale down large projects into small components to get feedback and iterate
- Rather than focus on an ebook, film, workshop, or mobile app, instead start with a tweetstorm, livestream, or wireframe
- Test small ideas and scale up from there, this is a great way to learn more about the field you want to get into, increase your chance of success, and give you concrete stepping stones on the path to your end goal
- Context Switch
- Expose yourself to different locations, devices, people, and times in order to stimulate your brain into thinking differently and being more creative
- Sometimes changing the environment is all it takes to get unstuck
- Function Follows Form
- Experiment with the form of what you are creating in order to get ideas and inspiration
- Reorder notes in an outline, try grouping and ordering based on date, theme, objective, or whatever else you like
- (I need to apply this to design, adjusting layouts in a wireframe could give me good ideas for app development)
- Interlinking Notes
- Link between notes that relate to each other
- There should be a web that builds up over time between your notes
- (Tiago, are you sure you don't want to just use Roam?)
- Advanced Search
- Filter for notes using specific criteria
- Search based on title, notebook, tags, relevant dates, etc...
- Compose filters to do powerful queries for exactly what you need
- Table of Contents
- After doing a search, or querying for exactly the notes you need, take that list of notes and turn it into a TOC
- You can do this in evernote with "Create Table of Contents Note"
- Create these notes for a project, blogpost, or anything else
- Add information to each entry with sub bullets or other notes
- Just-in-case -> Just-in-time
- In the past you had to do a lot of work up front and in advance, just in case it is needed
- Now that doesn't make sense, you should focus on slowly building up resources so that when the work needs to be done it can go together quickly
- We are also moving from a world where things need to be perfect to a world where we need to move fast and iterate on imperfect solutions
- Moving from long sessions of deep focus to short sessions creating intermediate packets (not sure I believe this yet, I think it can be right, but some packets require deep focus to create)
- Moving from a world by people learn by consumption to a world of interaction where people learn by creating and publishing and sharing
Unit 7: PKM Canvas
- PKM Canvas is a tool designed to help after you have otherwise forgotten most of this course
- Summarize the most important points on one piece of paper
- With the printout it will be a pocket sized guide to the second brain. (I may do this, but will probably just try and do it in Roam)
- Page 1: Cover. Name and a sketch to help it connect
- Page 2: Project List related to PKM
- Page 3: 12 Favorite Problems. Pick ones relevant to PKM
- Page 4: Default capture methods for top five sources
- Page 5: Layers of progressive summarization to use
- Page 6: Project completion checklist
- Page 7: Workflow Strategies to use, and when
- Page 8: Top 10 takeaways from the course
- Make these ideas your own, adapt the canvas to your own needs and system
- There is no perfect flow chart for this, it will never be a perfect checklist, but it is still valuable to condense the information into one useful place
Unit 8: The Dawn of the Perspective Era
- Zooming out to look at the history of value creation
- 01: The space era
- Mercantilism, oil, steel, railroads
- Zero sum game. All about conquest.
- Eventually we ran out of space
- 02: The time era
- "Time is money"
- All about turning disposable time into money
- Eventually we ran out of time
- 03: The attention era
- Creative class
- Attracting eyeballs over and over again
- Around now we are running out of attention
- 04: The perspective era
- We are seeing the rise of a focus on our lives, treat ourselves as a startup of one
- A lot of wisdom is needed to handle this, that wasn't necessary when we could just clock in
- Previously, everything was organized into containers. Info into books, education into classes, work into companies, and people into professions.
- Moving more into streams. We are managing streams of experiences, feeds, relationships, and ideas, all intermingling
- Need to combine containers and streams more effectively. Right now we aren't managing this well, which leads to the sense of overwhelm
- Container thinking funnels everything through the brain and creates a bottleneck
- Stream thinking allows you to be a curator of the streams and build systems that capture the ideas flowing by
- Situational awareness is key, it is more important to have a rough idea of what is out there and when it is used, rather than exactly how to use it. Need to train this skill over time.
- This course is about building the skills needed to live in a stream based world. GTD to capture things that need to be done, progressive summarization to turn past research into a more usable form, PARA to structure information for long term management, and J-I-T Project Management to effectively execute against all of the above
- In a scarcity mindset we begin seeing our strengths as a hammer and treat everything as a nail. This becomes a constraint that can hold us back. We need to be able to abandon our identity based on our strengths in order to improve. We must evolve our approach and continue to adapt if we want to succeed.
- Food as thought metaphor. We need food/information to live. But we don't need any particular food/information. There is no specific source of information or crucial fact that we need. We just need to immerse ourselves in the right streams and have good throughput.
- Perfection should be undesired. If a system needs perfection, it is fundamentally flawed.
- "Chase what excites you" - Tim Ferriss
Toyota Design Thinking Case Study
- (Several examples in here are referring to the Workflow Strategies above)
- Challenge was to create a full day workshop in two days using only pre-existing information that was already available
- Began by planning the plan. Creating an outline of exactly what he would need to look for in Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote. Everything from slide decks, information sources, and prior communications with that client.
- Afterwards pulled together his pre-existing information into a Table of Contents so that he could easily process through and use the information that he needed
- Then, applying Headings First allowed him to lay out a trail of everything that would need to be covered to have a deliverable product
- Added temporary tags to the notes that he used for this project, allowing him to find what he referenced, and avoid retreading prior work
- Applied Archipelago of Ideas, creating a single note that he would write out all the details of the workshop, isolating the work needed into one place and work solely there
- Induced an inflection point of success by context switching. During a flight he took the information he already had and did what needed to be done, and realized he didn't need to do any more gathering of information. He flipped the switch from divergence to convergence.
- He knew the form and constraints of his workshop, and used that to inform everything else
- He regularly interlinked notes to speed up his process
Live Session 1
Goals of the first lesson: Understand the objectives of the course, how it will be conducted, communication channels, and how to succeed
Second Brain comes from Evernotes mission statement
Capture -> Organize -> Share -> Feedback -> Capture -> Organize -> Share..
For most people, content either doesn't move, or it moves once and just dies
Everything has to be managed mostly by your first brain, which increases overhead, and minimizes trust in the system
The goal is to create an organized system to do these three steps. everything should go into one system
The second brain is not a single app, it can be made up of a bunch of apps.
Think of it like an ecosystem of apps, all filling a specific role in a well planned whole
Level 1: Storing information. This happens pretty much automatically, email, texts, etc are all stored information
Level 2: Managing knowledge. Filter the information through your own lens, apply context and connections that matter, and turn it into knowledge
Level 3: Enabling action. After collecting that knowledge, you should turn that knowledge into writings, projects, products, and other shared output
Our focus will be on organization and collaboration
Systematic approach and tools to capture, organize, and share ideas to turn them into breakthroughs
The course can only give about 50% of the value, the rest comes down to us putting in the effort
Put in what is required to allow us together to fulfill on this promise
What do I want to accomplish with this course?
- This is my second time through the course, so I have some systems in place, but I want to get more consistent with using them. I am committed to coming out of this time with confidence in my system, and well developed ideas that I'm willing to share publicly.
High Level Curriculum Pillars
- Capture: Progressive Summarization
- Unit 4: Progressive Summarization
- Unit 5: Maximizing Return-on-Attention
- Organize: P.A.R.A
- Unit 2: Organizing for insight
- Unit 3: Digital Cognition
- Share: Just-In-Time Project Management
- Unit 6: Just in time project management
- Unit 7: PKM Canvas
- Unt 8: The Big Picture
- Capture: Progressive Summarization
10 one hour zoom calls
- Monday Unit sessions
- Wednesday discussion sessions
- Catch up period at the end
- Curriculum on teachable
- Live calls on Zoom
- Discussion on Circle
Ten year countdown exercise: Visualize 10 years, 5 years, and 1 year in the future
- 10 years: I want to have a wife, a home in Europe (probably Scotland) in a place with cool cobblestone streets, a dog, probably no kids, a good small group of friends, working from home, in control of my life, helping to teach, building products that are useful for myself and people like me. Possibly the business will be on the scope of 10-15 people that i work with. Hobbies will include music, cooking, dancing. Instruments on the wall, a great desk.
- 5 years: Girlfriend, living together in an apartment, probably no dog yet, traveling a lot, building my own things, maybe one or two other people I'm working with.
- 1 year: More fuzzy, but hopefully have had a connection with more people, making progress on my writing, a few more followers, a few pieces of software published.
- Student group on Wednesday
- Couple of other things to do, all this will be on teachable
- Q: What apps to use?
- A: Consider starting with Evernote. You will be using a variety of different apps for different purposes, but Evernote is one of the best for capture.
- Q: Handwritten Notes?
- A: This will be addressed in the Capture module, this Q&A is more for meta questions about the course.
- Q: Could the capstone project be the second brain?
- A: The concepts should be applied to something applicable elsewhere in your life, so not really.
- Q: Can we expect to have the second brain 'done' by the end of 5 weeks?
- A: The second brain is an organism, it will continue to grow and evolve after the course.
- Q: Should we declare bankruptcy on old system?
- A: Hold off for now, going to be guided through it in later sessions. For now just start noticing things and capturing ideas.
- Q: Difference between network and structure
- A: Details in https://fortelabs.co/blog/the-structure-of-information-revolutions/. All information is in a pendulum between hierarchies and networks. We tend to swing between overly structured and overly networked. One isn't necessarily better than the other, good to find a balance.
- Q: What will be a sign that your second brain is a success?
- A: You should be able to tackle more ambitious projects than you could before. You should feel like you have a better grasp on the things happening in your life.
- Q: Creativity requires collaboration?
- A: People think creativity is an internal thing, but that isn't the case. You should be sharing early to get feedback, avoid false assumptions, and go in the right direction.
- Q: Does the 80/20 principle apply to second brain?
- A: To some extent it will, but part of the benefit of the second brain is about changing what the 80/20 applies to. More subtlety can be applied to that rule.
- Q: GTD and BASB?
- A: Task management is part of the productivity pyramid https://fortelabs.co/blog/the-digital-productivity-pyramid/. Task management is more important, and should try and capture everything. Knowledge management is less urgent. Can go back to GTD course later.
- Q: Any recommended daily practice?
- A: Not really, just do assignments and come to class.
Live Session 2
- Not in our normal student groups today, instead just in random groups while tech issues get sorted
- Jumping into student group
- Nothing particularly to note
- Lots of great discussions about analog vs digital note taking
- Roam, Notion, Zettelkasten, etc...
- Separating out work stuff vs personal stuff
- Chatted with Misha Taylor about Notion vs Roam stuff
- Complete Unit 1
- Watch Unit 2 Video and Case Study
- Fill out Course Roadmap Wheel
- This week is about [[Finding The Why]]. Figure out what is so important that it is worth building a second brain
Live Session 3
Poll, looks like we are mostly going right pace, maybe a bit slow for folks who have already taken the course
Goal: To organize your existing notes and files with a cross platform system
Previously: Capstone project, discussion sessions, and office hours
Mentors: They are there for us, having ~20 mentors to break up the massive class into more manageable groups. Take advantage of the training they have received.
David Allen: Most people have a hard time grasping what a 'project' is and managing their inventory of projects
- From someone in chat: [[Cal Newport]] just posted about something similar today too: "One thing I’ve noticed about this sector is that it tends to treat the assignment of work tasks with great informality. If you ask a manager to estimate the current load on each of their team members, they’d likely struggle. If you ask the average knowledge worker to enumerate every obligation currently on their own plate, they’d also likely struggle — the things they need to do exist as a loose assemblage of meeting invites and unread emails."
Project List is the link between a task manager and a notes manager.
Don't retitle things, keep it all consistent in terms of emojis, spelling, capitalization, between all sources of information
Definition of a project: “Any outcome you’re committed to that can’t be completed in one sitting.”
X by Y = Z (Project by Date = Outcome)
For the brainstorm:
- Start by listing out projects
- Filter down to make sure the list makes sense
- Then come up with what a successful outcome would look like
- Then give each one a deadline
- Prioritize list of projects
- Ask questions about your list. Does it actively represent what you want to achieve? Anything to postpone?
- Weekly Review
"your future is the average of the 5 projects you're working on"
Actions for next time
- Complete Unit 2 Lessons
- Finish project list
- Finish PARA setup
- Q: How to scope your projects?
- A: Keep breaking them down until it is clear and obvious what you should do next
- Q: How to differentiate between tasks and projects?
- A: It is a spectrum, but the clearest rule of thumb is to keep tasks down to literally just single actions as small as possible, and projects is anything that takes multiple tasks
- Q: How do goals fit into PARA?
- A: Tiago avoids the term goals. Only uses goals in regards to a per-project goals. He does do an annual review though to set high level objectives for the year though.
- Quick bit from an attendee about how he uses Projects
- Make sure that your projects support your 'Desired Outcomes' in your business, personal life, etc...
- Also do the reverse and make sure you have projects to support your desired outcomes
- Book recommendation: [[Pay To Think]]. Start with desired outcomes -> strategy -> tactics -> execution
- Use your project list to tell the truth to yourself (and others) about what you are dedicating time to
- Q: How do you handle future projects and resurface things on the backburner
- A: Don't put these on the project list! You don't want this to turn into a wishlist, only put things there you are working on. Start it with tasks in an area until it crosses a threshold where it needs to be a dedicated project.
- Q: Suggestions to avoid getting lost in the process?
- A: Focus on live sessions and the action steps. Don't overthink it, just get started knowing that things will change over time. Ask questions in Circle.
- Q: Do you allow yourself to work on random things that aren't yet projects?
- A: Yes, follow your intuition and passion. One of the benefits of having a reference system separate from actionable system, it means you can explore a bunch of things without it crowding out the rest. Just avoid having too many things at a time, our project lists shrink as we improve our systems.
- Q: How should we think about breaking down BASB Cohort 10 in PARA?
- A: Courses could be a single note, or it could be a massive notebook containing info on everything that happened in the Course. Take notes on units, capture emails, progressively summarize everything. Things can start as projects, move to resources, or end up as areas. All depends on the course.
- Q: How to reconcile with folks that don't use PARA
- A: Start with your stuff first, this is all about PERSONAL knowledge management
- Q: How to balance the size of your projects?
- A: First, it needs to be concrete enough that you know what to do. It can't be so concrete that it loses excitement and interest. Make it practical, but be sure it still makes you come alive.
Live Session 4
- Concensus from poll that more case studies and walkthroughts would be useful
- Turns out all breakout rooms will be randomized going forward, technical issues prevent preassigning :(
- Breakout room to discuss project lists
- No major new insights, mostly discussion about micro projects, avoiding tool fatigue, and managing distinctions between parts of PARA
- Totally fine to copy information from projects into resources if it will be continuously used
- This is an incredibly versatile system. Stuff not related to an active project can go in resources, or areas, or even archives
- Don't think of Archives as being trash, stuff can be moved out of there easily!
- Be willing to drop some things. We can't focus on everything that we might want to, it has to be constrained to ease our mental load.
- We should try to see our projects lists change every week, if not we will lose motivation, we need progress! So make sure projects are small enough this will happen.
- Lots of similarities with Mise en Place
- Tiago demonstrated a simple PARA setup, creating notebook stacks in Evernote for each of the types, moving everything else to archives, and doing the same for Dropbox folders.
- Don't shoot for perfection, that will take all your time and never end well
Live Session 5
Putting a period on Unit 2: Organize your notes into a system optimized for actionability
Lynchpin of PARA: Realtime dashboard of your priorities
Bellcurve of satisfaction with the project list and PARA implementation
Now moving to Unit 3: Digital Cognition
Goal of Unit 3: Understand how digital tools can enhance and support capture.
What should i capture? What is worth saving?
From top level sources down to low level sentences
What to Capture?
Where to Capture?
How to Capture?
Doing the 12 favorite problems exercise live
Information doesn't all fit neatly into a project, it is a more abstract thing that can't be rigidly defined
Origin of 12 Favorite Problems is a quote by Richard Feynman
Example of 12 favorite problems from Tiago
7 minutes to fill in favorite problems
Why Capture? To find answers to our favorite problems
Tiago gave us a link to a list of the 100 most recent notes as of march 23rd. Essentially a two month slice of his note taking. There are a variety of things that he saves.
- Post ideas
- Testimonials of his work (same idea as a [[praise file]])
- Favorite resources from around the internet
- Aside, there was a link to 1on1 questions, seems really good https://github.com/VGraupera/1on1-questions
- Saved excerpts and favorites from instapaper
- Notes from calls and meetings
- Language to borrow, terms and phrases. Notes don't have to be big, they can be just a handful of words captured on mobile
- Helpful models to think about different topics. Might be advice on how to approach certain types of problems, or examples of something done well
- Placeholders for decisions that need to be made and things that have to be outlined
- Research materials
- Planning and organizational notes
- Preparation and agenda notes
Summary of things to save is available in the workbook
Things To Do:
- Watch Case Study 2 and 3
- Post 12 favorite problems
- Post top 5 sources
Can also start digging into the capture library
There will be a workshop with Marie Poulin tomorrow
Ends with a story and a bit about "The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great"
We can get over the swamp of despair by adjusting our thinking. Recognize that things are good, and that this is all a game we are playing with each other, and none of it is worth stressing and despairing over.
- Q: Question about scope of problems, and problems vs questions
- A: Tiago likes the dichotomy between having questions but calling them problems. When you lead the list you should be inspired. Questions are generative, problems aren't as much.
- Q: How do you keep maintaining your Second Brain?
- A: The system will get infected at times and need to steadily evolve to keep up with your needs and get past the issues that develop
- ... (incomplete notes, need to watch the Q&A again, didn't stay for the whole thing)
Live Session 6
- Start with a poll asking people how on track they are. Roughly 50/50 split between on track and behind, very few ahead or way behind
- There is no real way to fall behind. We will be going make and forth between concepts, spend more time on others, and skip for the time being
- Switching up the schedule. Going to be doing different stuff on Friday instead of office hours.
- Last time covered 12 favorite problems and top 5 sources
- Focus on capturing from those top 5 sources, we need to master capture from those to use as a platform for more advanced/difficult ways of capture.
- Get exposure to the diversity of different capture methods. There may be things we haven't even considered that could actually be really valuable.
- Breakout group to talk about 12 favorite problems and capture sources
- Favorite problems can scale up and scale down as needed
- It's good to have a high level view, and the 12 problems is how you can get that
- Consider having a runway of questions at different levels, from low to high
- Victor Ramirez has a good handle on podcast capture, may want to reach out to him
- Podcast capture is an issue for lots of people
- Photos came up as a problem. How to incorporate a large number of photos into a BASB system? My thought is to create Capture One sessions for a project, and pull things into there. I could also create catalogs for an area maybe?
- How do we capture thoughts that we want to hold on to?
- Inboxes are incredibly important, need to set those up and give ourselves time to process them.
- Huge range of approaches, including people working in analog
- How to handle work vs personal? Doesn't really have a good solution. Although if work supports Notion that may be a good approach.
- Unofficial action step: Iron out issues capturing from the top 5 sources.
- Use the media library to look through approaches for different types of capture
- Action Steps for Monday:
- Watch Unit 5 & Unit 6 lectures
- Watch Case Study on Starting a Podcast
- Capture Challenge. Save 15 notes by Monday. Need to save ~3 notes per day in this time. Capturing just 3 notes per day means >1000 posts per year. Try to take these in things related to the capstone project.
- Whatever way we are approaching the capstone project, was there something familiar with the way we approached it?
- This BASB system may be able to change the way we approach these problems. Expand the kind of person you can be in a given situation.
- "What would it look like to run this project in a different way than you ever have?"
Live Session 6.5
- Today talking about progressive summarization
- The goal of Unit 4
- Benefits of Progressive Summarization:
- Stay in the flow of reading, saving seamlessly to avoid disruption and making it incredibly easy
- Make intuitive decisions about where to focus your attention. You don't need to give all of the content equal focus, even in fiction this won't be the case
- Send packets of knowledge to your future self. These can be used for all sort of useful purposes
- Distill key points anywhere.
- Minimize time spent summarizing until usefulness is understood.
- Easily decide if a note is worth reading in full
- Get up to speed on a note within seconds
- You need to find the key points in a paragraph. Don't highlight everything, try to identify the punchline of what you read.
- Example from Work Clean
- Can highlight full paragraphs for context in some cases
- A good example of progressive summarization should include:
- A very brief summary of the core ideas at the too
- Key words, sentences, and maybe paragraphs. Ratio should be roughly 30% bolded
- Best of that content highlighted, roughly 10 to 1 bold to highlight
- Consider bolding headings, list titles, and points that will indicate if the surrounding material is worth reading
- Capture further reading materials
- Keep your notes glanceable. You should be able to get the best value out of it at a glance.
- Don't pull the whole article into your second brain, do the initial pass of capture elsewhere (e.g. in liner, instapaper, kindle highlighting), and then do the summarizing within your brain based on what you captured
- Instapaper and Readwise automatically export to evernote. With Liner you need to open the dashboard and then export to evernote.
- Most people recommend using Instapaper almost exclusively, but if you regularly want to read as you go instead of sending things to Instapaper it can be beneficial to use Liner
- Exercise: Save the best excerpts from https://divinations.substack.com/p/bundle-magic
- Exercise 2: Take Tiago's note and summarize across each of the layers
- In My Words: Bundle goods that are free to deliver and provide a clear set of value
- This is a common misconception of why niche products often charge more. It’s not necessarily that their users are willing to pay more, it’s that they have less to lose by charging a higher price.)
- See the right side of the graph, where the line dips into negative territory? That means you would have made more money had you offered each newsletter individually. The relationship here is very clear: if people have zero demand for most things in your bundle, it’s a bad idea to try and force a bundle on them. But if people have a little demand for everything, and a lot of demand for some things, then a bundle is a great idea.
- That’s one reason you don’t often see bundles with lots of disparate goods — it would take too much work to explain what’s in there! It makes a lot more sense when everything fits a certain intuitive pattern, like songs (Spotify), movies (Netflix), and sports news (The Athletic). That way customers just “get it” and can make a judgment call on how much it’s worth to them without spending a lot of time researching what’s included.
- Lastly, none of the analysis above works for physical products, or consulting services. It only makes sense to give people things they don’t fully want if it costs you nothing to give it to them. So it works for software and digital media, but not much else. This is why music and movies weren’t previously offered as a bundle when they had to be printed on discs and shipped, but now that they’re delivered for essentially free over the internet, they’re bundled.
- Mine are surprisingly similar to Tiago's results from the same exercise
- "Writer's block just means I don't have the ammo" - Sebastian Junger
- These notes should be well packaged, with a label on top so you know when to use it
- When you start a project you should have what you need right away to get momentum
Live Session 7
- Today finishing up with capture
- Over the next week and a half we will be covering what it looks like to share and create based on our notes
- Benefits of Intermediate Packets:
- Instead of creating a big chunk of stuff for a single project, you can create smaller packets of reusable content
- You build up a library of useful information over time, which allows for incredibly easy creation of new things
- It makes you distraction resistant. If you are making lots of little things, it matters less if you get distracted in the middle because you aren't losing track of large scope
- It allows you to focus on different things based on different energy levels. If you are focused you can work on the more difficult packets, otherwise the easier ones.
- We need to cultivate more than just deep work, but the ability to adapt and roll with the punches
- An intermediate packet is just a note.
- Poll asking people how many packets they saved. Split between folks that did <15 and >15
- Benefit of focusing on the capstone project is that we have a more clear filter of what deserves to be captured
- Also a benefit of the 12 favorite problems. It can also help drive note taking.
- Don't treat the entire BASB course as a project. Instead try and figure out what is really necessary for the work you do and focus on those elements.
- Now talking about the inbox
- Ideally your inbox should be full of a large number of diverse things.
- Triage requires taking a ton of different inputs and problems through a single entry point, and sending it all to the right place
- Go from oldest to newest, never skip an item, don't leave anything in the inbox
- Gave a demo of how he processes his inbox, good to see the process
- Exercise to do the same ourselves. This is where it feels way more valuable to use Evernote than Roam or Notion, but maybe that just means the same workflow doesn't make sense in those
- Can actually help to have a full inbox. Makes it easier to get into flow.
- Consider not even titling the notes from the inbox. Untitled should be a common note.
- Should be splitting notebooks, merging them, and otherwise treating them as a living categorization.
- Focus on doing the same things the same way every time. You can move past most restrictions in tools by having a process.
- Focusing on the top 5 sources.
- Exercise: choose a single method for one of those sources.
- eBooks: Kindle Highlights -> Readwise -> Evernote -> Import to Notion
- Workshops coming up:
- Readwise team
- How to work effectively with a personal assistant
- Action Steps:
- Finish triaging the notes in your inbox
- Progressively summarize notes related to your Capstone Project
Live Session 8
Reviewing the emotional journey from session 5, also doing a proper poll this time to evaluate
We should all consider that, by definition, we have done our best with the resources we have and the situation we are in
Talking about the maintenance required for this system:
- Not much maintenance
- No need to capture every idea, or even most of them. We just need to focus on a certain set of inputs and types of important ideas
- No need to clear the inbox regularly. Just need to go through every week or every couple of weeks. Can just put the reference system on pause, only really need to pay attention to the task manager day to day.
- Clear the inbox when you find yourself taking more time to look for things in the inbox than it would to clear it.
- No need to summarize all the time. Wait until there is a real need for those notes before you summarize them.
- No need to triage correctly. There is no single proper place for a note, it can live anywhere. Just use lightweight heuristics to quickly triage.
- The one thing that really needs to be done well is project completion.
- Everyone has projects, not everyone properly handles knowledge.
- We need to be able to reuse our knowledge, recycle it, and properly apply it in more effective ways
30 Minutes to develop a project completion checklist
Breakout room to discuss our checklist and capture. Lead by Pandith
- Common difficulty is dealing with the number of different tools, and how best to use each one for what.
- My own difficulties come from differences in the way that Roam works vs other things
- Problems with capturing too much, and deciding what to cut and what to save. This will get better as you work through more projects and get a better intuition about what the key points are for a given thing.
- Helps to use a buffer before your inbox to give space to evaluate a source before deciding to capture it. Instapaper is an example of a buffer.
- Helps to focus on capturing just the coolest parts of different articles
- When breaking down projects into subprojects, recognize that you won't be working on all of them at the same time. So you should only be keeping the active parts in your project list.
- Discussion in chat about Notion APIs
- Bit of discussion about capture into Notion. Main idea that came up was using Evernote as an inbox, and either copy/pasting or importing into Notion
We should be able to summarize what we have learned into a single page at the end of all this
Make it fun! Make it enjoyable to complete projects. One idea: Reward of dark chocolate
Consider having a success criteria: Did I change my mode of operation after completing the project
Add a gratitude list for the projects. What am I grateful for having finished a project?
Just try to be a few percent better every time
- Add default capture steps to top 5 sources
- Watch unit 6 lecture video on JIT project management
- Watch case study 5 on Long Form Writing
Live Session 8.5
- Three more calls left before the end
- Starting with a poll. Lots of people want more case studies and walkthroughs of apps
- Overview of what we have covered and all the milestones of the course
- Almost all of these milestones should be a note in your second brain, you shouldn't need to be tracking those things in your head, you should have something you can easily reference to keep you on track
- Now talking about Workflow Strategies (see notes from Unit 6 above, I won't be repeating all of that)
- The rest of BASB can be very similar between all types of professionals, but in workflow strategies this is where things get a little fuzzier and more dependent on what you do and what relies on your creativity
- Originally evaluated more than 50 ideas for these strategies and then paired it down to 12
- Today will be doing a walkthrough of a project and how you would apply the workflow strategies
- Project: Investing in his brothers company
- Starts with ~15 notes accumulated before even building a plan or outline
- The first not was an informal note taken while him and his brother were on a call
- Starts by progressively summarizing to pull out the value from it. During that process he bolds, indents, adds new headings, etc..
- Thinking of this from a marketing perspective. As he goes he is building up essentially a marketing pitch right in this first note
- Information from a variety of different sources, in some cases a note is just a text
- Merges small bits of information into other notes and then deletes theo riginal note
- Pulls in notes from research
- Adds context and learnings as he summarizes
- Captures interesting vocabulary
- Created a Table of Contents for the notebook from every note. Added todos to some of the notes.
- Linked between notes to pull in context where useful
- Captures a wide variety of things, showed even that he captured a screenshot of an FB ad that is relevant
- Captures color commentary for that fb ad at the top of the page
- Can turn the TOC into the Meta Plan. Sometimes the first big thing you need to do is just go through all of the notes!
- It is an incredibly lightweight first pass. It doesn't have to take much time.
- Always starts with a list and uses that list to generate the next list
- This enables constant pivoting between different things. This project can live in the background and still have constant progress
- Tiago sometimes keeps tasks in Evernote instead so that it remains compartmentalized. If it isn't central to his work, it is better to have it live in this one notebook so he can ignore it until the couple hours a week he spends on it
- Make a firm decision and have it live in task manager or evernote, not both
- There will be media library entries with more about all of these things
- Picasso's Bull as an example of decompression and then compression. You can capture the essence of a thing in an incredibly simplified way
- These sort of strategies and systems are used often by artists
- Start with structure, then fill in detail
- Start broad, and go finer and finer
- These strategies should all be easy, if they feel hard you are overthinking it
- Action Steps
- Watch unit 7 on PKM Canvas
- Watch unit 8 on The Big Picture
- Apply at least 5 workflow strategies for your capstone project
Live Session 9
- We are done with almost all of the material. Now we are going to bring everything back together
- Last time we went over divergence for a project with a demo in ~30 minutes, and Tiago did another 30 minutes over the weekend, and that was it! Now we will go over what convergence looks like.
- Best to minimize time on divergence to make things easier for convergence.
- "How can I use as few sources as possible, make this convergence as short and concise as possible"
- Convergence demo
- After diverging and reviewing all notes, action steps are now listed for everything needed for convergence
- Separate out the divergence plan and starts writing out convergence notes above. In this case begins by listening the deliverables that will be needed for the project
- Deliverables can include posts, websites, emails, descriptions, etc...
- A large part of this is the fact that projects should be kept small. Keep the projects small, and the number of deliverables low. In this case, just one launch post and a basic website.
- Consider adding in just enough details to filter out bad customers, and hook the good ones
- Goes through and moves relevant notes into where they would fit in with the deliverables. So move research things under the launch post, photos under the website, etc...
- The core of this process is to treat everything fluidly. Move things, rename them, group them, add headings. All the same stuff can be used in many different ways with a bit of shuffling
- Once the plan is done he can open the relevant notes and begin outlining his deliverables.
- He is still copying at this point, he wants to wait until the very last minute to actually write using his own words, making sure the logic and argument is rock solid before he does the hard part
- Hard to take notes on all of this demo, but basically he keeps moving, restructuring, pulling in, rephrasing, and adding notes for himself as he develops these deliverables. And he repeats this for all of the notes that he had built up during divergence.
- He doesn't need to solve every problem up front, this is about constantly working towards the minimum viable next step to make the best forward leap
- After building out the outline, he opens Google Docs, puts it side by side with Evernote, and begins writing
- Think simple, work in sprints, focus on minimal viable deliverables
- The convergence phase is made so much easier when applying the different workflow strategies. He can take something that can seem crazy ambitious (start a business), break it down into smaller chunks, and build those out in a relatively easy way
- Now talking about Unit 8
- Some of the highest skill jobs are beginning to be automated. Computers are good at managing lots of information.
- Jobs are protected by the ability to convey a particular interpretation of information
- The human perspective is the most important thing we can provide
- Every company will need to have a point of view. Bland marketing won't work anymore, memes and opinions are key
- 4 Stages of Mastery
- Unconscious Incompetence. Not even knowing what you aren't good at.
- Conscious Incompetence. Knowing about a thing and knowing you aren't good at it. You are aware there is a problem.
- Conscious Competence. You are actively working towards mastering a process, you have a sense of how to improve.
- Unconscious Competence. You can just do the thing, you don't even need to be aware of it to be good at it, it just happens. We are unconsciously competent at walking and breathing.
- Don't worry if we aren't happy with where we are in the system yet. Just be there and embrace that stage of mastery.
- If we are at stage 2, embrace it, write about the things that aren't working, the questions we haven't answered, and the problems we still need to address
- If you are in stage 3, just keep working on it, massage the system and let it become part of you. This is a great spot to be, just need to make it a habit and tweak some things
- Stage 4 is great, this is where you will start to see the serendipity. You should see lots of great results coming from the system at this point.
- Homework for Wednesday
- Complete the [[PKM Canvas]]. Take the time to do a mini-convergence to fill this out. This will be an opportunity for me to summarize my notes, extract value from prior homework, and pull together the highlights there. (I will also be taking this exercise to write a blog post about my takeaways)
- Watch Case Study on Business Development
- Post Course: Two week implementation period. Mentors and teachers will be sticking around to help with projects, take a few more calls, and potentially do some coaching
- Q: What happens for next cohort?
- A: There will be an email opt in before it
- Q: Spending too much time on BASB, less time on actual work
- A: This is a phase, it takes time up front and eventually the returns will be worth it. Also a sign you aren't doing things Just In Time. Things should be postponed if possible.
- Aside with logistics questions and talk about different courses
- Q: How to pick up from where you left off
- A: Apply the Status Summary workflow strategy. Always recognize that there might be some decent chunk of time before you revisit something, and give yourself a note for when you come back.
- Also, try to finish every work session with a concrete deliverable. Treat a work session as the most important unit of work, and make sure it pays off. You need to converge at the end of the work being done. Close the loop. It is a huge benefit to mindset and how you feel.
- Q: Chase what excites you, without chasing the next shiny thing?
- A: It's a challenge. https://foursightonline.com/ is a paid quiz that tells you what parts of the creative process are your strengths vs weaknesses. Some folks have trouble starting things, others have trouble finishing. Need to find ways to prevent your strengths from becoming weaknesses. And work on fixing your weaknesses.
- Tiago talks about using money to keep himself accountable. He won't do a partnership with someone without money changing hands. He either pays them, or is paid by them. He knows this won't work for everyone, but when you can it is a great way to adjust mindset.
- He also uses negative opinions from others to push himself. He uses the desire to prove people wrong to his advantage.
- Q: How do you organize sprints?
- A: He lets the project dictate it. He doesn't try to plan beyond the thing he can see, he would rather keep moving forward and decide what is next as he goes
Office Hours 1
- The right size of projects has to do with expertise. If you are comfortable with a bigger thing, keep it all as one project, otherwise split it up
- Split projects until they seem easy according to your expertise
- We each need a different project scope based on expertise and skills
- In the beginning of BASB, Cohort 1 was like 25 projects, now Cohort 10 is a single project (although it does have subheadings)
- Using microprojects limits the amount of things that need to accumulate for a piece of work before it gets archived and stored somewhere
- Avoid letting the system turn into a library, instead have it act as a factory
- Don't worry about overorganizing things. The projects will stay front of mind, so doing reviews and prioritizing should be relatively easy
- If you optimize every single element, the system as a whole will be unoptimized
- Instead, optimize the whole thing in stages
Office Hours 2
- "My personal analogy : Projects = desk ; Areas = office room ; Resources = Library ; Archives = basement" from the chat
- Almost all of Tiago's advice comes down to taking action, and doing the simplest thing that feels right. Avoid overplanning, complex templates aren't necessary, and the whole thing is very fluid.
- Weekly Review:
- Things Inbox
- Waiting for
- Today list
- Watching Tiago go through this was amazing. I need to go back through and watch it again slower speed and incorporate all the steps for myself.
- Can add reference materials to Resources and then have a Table of Contents in the prjoect
- "My key takeaways today is "grow organically" / "let it flow" / "touch lightly" / "moving more, organize less"" from chat
- Founders: Daniel Doyon and Tristan Homsi
- Readwise creates a single space for integrating a wide variety of different sources and platforms into your note
- Bell curve of familiarity with Readwise
- Starting with a high level overview, then get into the story of Readwise, and afterwards walk through a few workflows
- High level overview:
- Readwise is "software that helps you remember more of what you read"
- Add a variety of different import services, and have all of the highlights sync in once per day from Kindle, Instapaper, Twitter, Pocket, etc...
- It began with Kindle
- Early on began sending the random 5 notes in an email, and folks really liked this feature, and they expanded on this with the daily review web app
- Over time added many different integrations
- Story of Daniel
- Quit his job and traveled, ended up doing more and more reading, and had trouble remembering everything
- Used Anki, and eventually built a Cloze based system on top of it to reinforce what he had been reading with SRS. SuperReading was his system developed before Readwise.
- Second order benefit of SuperReading: he was able to remember details about survival skills from a book he read after getting lost on a hike in Costa Rica. His brain began pelting him with reminders and warnings about the situation that he was in when he needed it. Some level of learned "Wisdom"
- Really dove deep into SuperReading, met Tristan working on similar things, and they have been working on it since
- Story of Tristan
- Whole life a technologist with a focus on reading
- His focus was on the input into your reading list. How to maintain it, pick from it, and add to it.
- Built a web app to help people prioritize books to read. He was at the beta stage when he met Daniel and switched to working more on Readwise
- Focus on efficiency and speed vs Daniel's focus on long term retention and deeper thinking
- Three ways to improve reading
- Choosing better things to read
- Reading more efficiently
- Retaining what you read
- Readwise focuses on the last aspect because it helps improve the leverage for the first two. Doesn't matter how much good stuff you read if you don't retain any of it
- "Don't pour water in a leaky bucket"
- Think of software as having a low bar and a high ceiling. Allow people to get started with a daily email, and go all the way up to detailed management of highlights.
- Able to adjust the number of highlights to review, prioritize newer vs older, and even adjust for individual books
- Daily Review:
- Blue dot shows details about the highlight and review history
- Inline tagging with Kindle notes.
.probabilitywould add the probability tag to a highlight
- Quickly add tags using the 'T' key
- Edit highlights to add context or fix issues with glitches or artifacts. This was just added.
- Also recently added added markdown export.
- Content consumption has become unbundled. Readwise helps bundle it again.
- Moving backwards in the pipeline rather than forward. They want to leave the note taking and writing to the Evernote and Notion tools, and focus instead on moving up to capture sources and finding good sources
- Notion support coming, same with an Android app
- The iOS (and eventually Android) apps have OCR for capture of physical books
- More advanced versions of tagging
- Add Chapters to highlights using heading tags
- Highlight the chapters and sections of the book and tag them with
.h3to generate headings
.c2, etc... can be used to concatenate sections
- Add Supplemental Books in the Add Highlights section to get an initial set of good notes from books you have read but didn't highlight
- From the daily review you can add tags, highlight the highlights, favorite things, share to social media, and apply active recall methods.
- There is a mastery system that happens during daily review, and cards can be converted to cloze deletion or questions and answers.
- Review streaks can help keep you on top of your reviews
- Links from chat