“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% taking really good notes.” – Thomas Edison
Happy Friday 🙂
Our third life optimization of the week is cued up for you below.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, this is by far the most useful strategy for creative work that I’ve ever come across.
I’m honestly not sure how I could do this work without it, and if I could only keep one life optimization in my toolkit…
…It would have to be this one:
The Second Brain
Here’s my big secret to getting a ton of work done:
Don’t work from scratch.
Instead of sitting down to a blank page every time you start a new project…
…Make a habit of writing down ideas about your future projects as they appear during your daily life.
I use a digital note taking system called Second Brain to collect and process my notes while I’m reading, watching tv, working out, cooking, falling asleep — whenever.
Doesn’t matter what it is:
A random thought, a big idea, a quote I stumble across, a relevant photo or video clip, a link I might revisit later…
…If it feels like it might somehow be useful for a future project, it gets plugged straight into the Second Brain.
There, my ideas gather and marinate like a pot simmering on a stove, until they’re ready to be worked on.
And when I do sit down to work, I’m often greeted by a collection of notes that is just waiting to be organized into a finished product.
DeepGame was only the hint of an idea in my mind when I first started capturing notes on it.
I didn’t know what it would become, or even that it would be an online course called “DeepGame.”
So instead of sitting down to work on it before I even knew what I was working on, I simply started making notes on it.
Soon, those notes began to shape themselves into a coherent vision.
And when that vision became clear enough to work on, I happily realized my Second Brain had already done much of the work for me.
Our upcoming Self Design course was developed the same way:
Slowly evolving in my notes for over two years, growing from the seed of an idea into a fully-formed system for human development.
And when I finally sat down to work on it a few weeks ago, the project was nearly finished:
All I needed to do was organize it, polish it up, and hit record.
I’m aiming to make it ready for you December 11th, and I can tell you right now:
Building such a powerful course on such a short timeline would be nearly impossible without a system like Second Brain.
Okay, that’s a wrap 🙂
More on Self Design soon, and more about building a Second Brain in the PS below.
And, here’s where you can review the rest of the life optimizations we spoke about this week.
Let me know how they’re going for you, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.
P.S. A few extra notes for those who want to build their own Second Brain system:
- The best place to get an overview is probably the book.
- I created my own Second Brain a few years before the book came out, so I haven’t read it — instead, I read articles on the author’s site, and listened to his podcast series (highly recommended).
- My Second Brain is built with Evernote as my primary app and PARA as my organizational system (that will make sense when you read the book).
- Finally, the obvious point:
Sometimes we do need to work from scratch, especially while your Second Brain is still developing, and you haven’t collected many notes yet.
So the sooner you start building it (and get in the habit of capturing notes), the better.
It’s a bit like a passive investment that compounds over time:
The more you use it, the more your Second Brain grows, until you’re sitting on a goldmine of thoughts and ideas that are just waiting to be applied to any project you take on.
In other words:
The more you work on it, the more it works for you.
Have fun 🙂