Tag Archives: ideas

Exocortex or the second brain

Or why not say it in real terms? My note taking system.

I would say that this concept might be one of most profound ideas I have stumbled up in a last couple of years. The concept is quite simple: there is an enormous amount of information flowing out there. Books, podcasts, articles, news, videos, how-to’s, ideas you name it. I tend to spend large amount of my time connected to this information flow in one form or the other. But what do you do with all this information? Does it go one way in then the other way out? If so, you are not alone. I do not doubt that some of sticks in your brain and in your life, but how much and of what quality? Your brain is not an information retention machine. It is good at creating new ideas but not so good at idea retention. WIkipedia has it covered if you would like to learn more. There are plenty of ways your for your memories to not form well and plenty of ways for memories to fade out.

Anyways, it is simple to some degree to retain some of that, whit some kind of note taking system. The thing is, don’t just dump your information into a notebook. If you are just a knowledge collector, it wont work that well. You will just have a info storage which you will rarely use and benefit only slightly from if at all. This is exactly how I used Evernote.

There is another way and I believe a better way. Something Tiago Forte talks about as a second brain or in fancy language Exocortex, exo as in external and cortex as in part of the brain. The External brain.

The idea, like most good ideas is really a simple one. Write down all interesting ideas, thoughts, inspirational quotes anything that captures your attention and you think is valuable and write it down. Note: do not copy and past a whole article. The system works on the premise that you capture just one small idea. One idea/concept is one note. It is the essence which you want to keep, organize and revise. This saves time and attention and collects your important insights. From there on, this notes will hold your insights indefinitely. By revising them, connecting them and traveling up and down through them, you will remember, create new ideas, form new and unexpected connections and hopefully become a better thinker.

My current setup is Drafts for capturing ideas and The Archive for storing and organizing them. This is a book often recommended which goes in depth on this system. Note: I did not read the book yet, but it does look like a useful read.