Pixelated Issue #2: Sponges, Bookmarks and Second Brains 🧠

🧠Sponges, Brains and Other Stuff

I’ve heard you should treat your creative energy like a sponge. With experience and inspiration found in the environment around us we “absorb”, filling ourselves with creativity. But also in doing so we “squeeze” this creativity energy when we well create… making it a limited resource needing to be replenished. But digital age allows us so much to absorb which enriches our experience, which leaves us to tuck it away and possibly to forget it, even though its important later.

People in the productivity circle tackle this issue with the method of creating a second brain. Building a Second Brain is a methodology used to get all those bits of information from books, notes, highlights, links and videos and transform them into ideas then organized them into one central location. Connecting these ideas and resources via subject or topic is stated to birth new ideas from through those connections. Usually done through note apps like Obsidian or team wikis like Notion, a second brain is great when you can manage it but a tangled mess if you don’t.

I am not denouncing the idea of a second brain but its complexity of cataloging, indexing and upkeep is not for the productivity newbie or faint of heart. But in this concept, I realized even when not attempting a system at that level that you can build up to keeping a digital repository by building habits before systems.

🔎Curating over Consuming

One of the practices of the second brain methodology I recently implemented more in my information input is the idea of “capturing”. We have a habit of anything we find interesting we save, pocket, bookmark we consume without asking why ? Forming opinions and ideas from the content we save adds value to our present and future selves. This also acts like a filtering to help cut down on the kept items that build up.

Of course this process doesn’t have to be done instantaneously but it goes into the next element of second brain of reviewing/curate our saved content. While third party sites like Pocket or Raindrop.io have options of tags or collections to organize content maybe apps that we natively save content like Tiktok’s favorites or Twitter’s bookmarks do not.

Even as I write this I am groaning at the saved Tiktoks I have on my camera roll. Set time to review and decide to release or keep those notes or that saved article. Attach meaning to help content better connect with you and your thinking process. Daily, weekly, monthly curate those saved tidbits by forming ideas, attaching meaning, and letting go of unneeded or lackluster info.

📥Find the Funnel

Ok, you want to review, to curate, to capture but the question is where? To make this work you would need a place to put your captured content quickly and effortlessly. Even people within the productivity community the app of choice depends on the person. The main goal is to have an inbox, a brain dump. People commonly use Evernote or Notion with their use of web clipper or availability via the share option.

My recommendation is to find an app that is available on multiple platforms and functionality and features based on the format of the media you save the most. If you love to highlight articles and books, Readwise is a good place to start. If you are a general link saver like moi, Pocket is still a solid choice. Think of this app as a funnel a place to put all your scatter bits of knowledge in.

📂Keeping it All Together

But of course the next step is where does the info go after from your inbox after you sort and curate? Think of this app as the “final destination” the library that hold information waiting to be used or rediscovered. Again note taking apps seem a common choice for this role. I recommend an app that again is multi-platform for easy access. But to make curation or cataloging possible a tagging/ folder/linking feature is definitely needed. Having offline access and sync is great to have to ( I would even push to have syncs or third party integrations with other apps ). The common apps are Notion, Obsidian, Roam and Evernote. I recently found and am using Mem which I would definitely put it on the list as well.

Even after organizing still interact. I try to keep at fingers length the things I enjoyed, and in sponge terms absorbed. It keeps me inspired and over time connections grow between content and how I interact with it. This allows me to form new ideas of articles that cover topics I would of not thought of without the intermingle of media I have on hand.

👀A Little Review

The second brain methodology is a powerful method of organization and interconnection of the content we consume. But this methodology is difficult to setup and maintain for people new to productivity. But even though it may be difficult to start now, its methods and key points are worth to use and make habits of, even at a surface level.

Some points I recommend trying:

  • Have an app that you use to dump everything ,links highlights, videos, files as an inbox
  • Take time to review and curate the content you save and form ideas from the content
  • For the content you curate and form ideas from save it in an accessible app, tagging the content to create interconnections or just to organize for later reference.

By building habits to help reflect the content we consume, organization and even trying the second brain methodology easier to start and maintain.

📚Reading / Viewing List

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