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Crafting Your Second Brain Lessons Learned from My Note-Taking Journey

Navigating Software Switches, Formatting Flux, Idea Curation, and Knowledge Organization


Iā€™ve spent the past few years building my second brain, and here are some lessons Iā€™ve learned along the way.

Frequent Switching of Note-Taking Software/Blogging Systems

Iā€™ve tried EverNote, WizNote, VNote, CSDN blog, Google blogspot, WordPress, only to end up scattering my blogs across multiple corners of the internet. The solution? Going all in one. Iā€™ve now settled on Obsidian.

Constantly Switching NoteĀ Formats

Iā€™ve experimented with txt, orgmode, markdown, rich text, and more, only to find myself frustrated with format conversions. Similar to the first point, each note system may not be universally compatible. The reason I chose Obsidian is for its markdown syntax. If need be, I can easily migrate it to any note system.

Mixing Fleeting Thoughts with Truly UsefulĀ Notes

Fleeting thoughts serve to capture a moment of inspiration, but itā€™s only meaningful if you revisit them within a day or two and turn them into useful, relevant notes. Without timely review, good ideas drown in a sea of whims. Most of our daily thoughts are insignificant and should be discarded, while those with potential significance must be identified.

Mixing Project Notes with Knowledge Notes

Only recording notes relevant to specific projects leads to the loss of interesting insights or ideas during the project. The correct approach is to extract universal knowledge from projects. I recommend using the P.A.R.A method to organize notes. For more information on P.A.R.A, you can refer to this page

Obsessive Note Organization

A large pile of notes leads to an urge to organize knowledge, but too many attempts can affect the confidence to keep recording. The solution is to define the areas of interest and responsibility and not completely adopt a bottom-up knowledge management approach. When reaching the point of psychological pressure, use the MOCS (Maps of Content) method to organize notes (bidirectional linking is definitely worth trying). The most important aspect of a knowledge management system is to record your insights in one place, with the same format, and consistent standards.

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