- Jun 2022
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There is no single right way to build a Second Brain. Your systemcan look like chaos to others, but if it brings you progress anddelight, then it’s the right one.
All this description and prescription, then say this?!
I'll agree that each person's system should be their own and work for them, but it would have been more helpful to have this upfront and then to have looked at a broad array of practices and models for imitation to let people pick and choose from a variety of practices instead of presenting just one dish on the menu: P.A.R.A. with a side of C.O.D.E.
I like to think of layer one as the “soil”—an excerpt from a source or my ownthinking (whether as words, drawings, images, or audio) I initially capture intomy notes. They are like the ground on which my understanding will be built.Layer two is “oil,” as in “I’ve struck oil!,” conveniently represented by black,bolded text. Layer three is “gold,” which is even more valuable, and shines inhighlighter yellow in many apps. Layer four is the “gems,” the most rare andilluminating finds that I’ve distilled in my own words as an executive summary.
another example along with CORE and PARA of Forte highlighting four steps. Why didn't he give this one a name? It's a clever analogy and very easy to remember mnemonically from a visual perspective. Why hide it in the footnotes?!
UsingPARA is not just about creating a bunch of folders to put things in. Itis about identifying the structure of your work and life—what you arecommitted to, what you want to change, and where you want to go.
Using the P.A.R.A. method puts incredible focus on immediate projects and productivity toward them. This is a dramatically different focus from the zettelkasten method.
The why's of the systems are dramatically different as well.
Your efforts to capture content for future use will be tremendouslyeasier and more effective if you know what that content is for.
Within the P.A.R.A. framework it's helpful if you know what your note capture is meant for, but it's wholly against a lot of note taking for things which may simply spark joy. This may be helpful for the work-a-day productivity person, but is painfully out of sync with keeping notes as a means of generating new ideas. Many of these sorts of notes will be hidden away in an archive and thus broadly unusable in the long run.
Sorting ideas into folders is still an older classical way of thinking instead of linking an idea to related things that make it imminently more usable. Cross linked ideas seem wholly more interesting, vibrant and more useable to me.
We are organizing for actionability
Organize for actionability.
(Applicable only for P.A.R.A.?)
This is interesting for general project management, but potentially not for zettelkasten-type notes. That method has more flexibility that doesn't require this sort of organizational method and actually excels as a result of it.
There is a tension here.
Notes primarily for project-based productivity are different from notes for writing-based output.
Archives: Things I’ve Completed or Put on Hold
The P.A.R.A. method seems like an admixture of one's projects/to do lists and productivity details and a more traditional commonplace book. Keeping these two somewhat separate mentally may help users with respect to how these folders should be used.
Resources: Things I Want to Reference in the Future
Resources (of P.A.R.A.) sound specifically like a more traditional commonplace book space.
It assumes only that you are currently working on acertain set of projects, and that your information should be organizedto support them.
This seems practical, but also means that it isn't necessarily re-usable and may not provide as much serendipity for creating new ideas.
Think about whether or not these are true.
organizing system PARA,* which stands for the four main categoriesof information in our lives: Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives.These four categories are universal, encompassing any kind ofinformation, from any source, in any format, for any purpose.*
a project based (pseudo-folder) approach
- synthetic associations
- project management
- four letter acronyms
- commonplace books vs. zettelkasten
- combinatorial creativity
- note taking methods
- commonplace books
- idea links
- Tiago Forte
- note taking
- note taking advice