First of all, what is a brain?
The human brain is a very important organ that has many jobs within the human body, such as gathering knowledge, understanding, perceiving, and interacting with the world, remembering the best ideas, and handling the creative process.
In a way, “the brain is the most important organ that we have,” said the brain itself.
But sometimes, especially in stressful moments, for example, during constant pressure or endless hours of activity, our biological brain suffers from a type of information overload, which in turn paralyzes us, halts our creative output, and all that valuable knowledge is not used in the best method possible. Just think about how many brilliant ideas, how many insights, and how much useful advice were lost due to our forgetting.pe
Enter the second brain!
There is a saying that “two heads are better than one” for a reason, and that might be that in our stressful, fast, and often confusing environment in the twenty-first century, our human brains might be slightly underprepared for this level of diversity.
Many things are slowly forgotten, and a method of organizing information is a proven method to increase personal productivity
A second brain, or a digital brain, is a series of digital notes stored in an external system, such as a notes app that stores many things that come into our conscious minds during the day. The way this helps us is that the notes themselves are connected, similar to to-do list apps, but also in a way that our biological brains work. The more connections, the better a concept is integrated into the digital brain system.
Ok, that sounds interesting. How do I get a second brain?
There are a few note-taking apps to help people create a second brain system, such as Obsidian, Notion, Evernote, and Notes (from Apple).
Each of them has different advantages and disadvantages, and that is what we’re going to talk about in the next paragraphs. Enjoy and choose the one that works best for you!
Apple notes, as the title might imply, is the official app that Iphone users have pre-installed on their devices to take notes. Being able to be used on macOS computers, the app syncs the notes across multiple devices with less stress.
The users can use folders to compartmentalize their topics of interest and keep track easily of their digital second brain. That way, their information is stored effectively.
Some people consider this app a great resource for creating a non-cluttered, easy-to-access, and simple-to-use digital brain… and that is exactly what some people want.
Evernote is a note-taking app that some might call life-changing, that uses virtual “notebooks” where the information can be tagged, annotated, edited, searched, and exported.
It’s widely spread across devices also helps it, as it can be used in the app form on either an Android, an iOS, a macOS, or a Microsoft Windows or as a web client. Having both a free version, which has some monthly limits and also a paid version, it’s sure to be one of the modern tools that many people spend countless hours using for their digital brain systems.
Notion is another great app to create a second brain, which makes use of folders to categorize informational content. Users often use the “para method”, which means dividing the information into: Projects, Areas of responsibility, Resources, and Archives. It can be used to create a really cute second brain but is also very useful for important projects.
The app has an abundance of templates to use and tools such as task management, project tracking, to-do lists, bookmarking, and many more, all pre-made and ready to use by the users. They even can create their our template, embed videos, add web content, collaborate with other users on different tasks and projects, etc.
That being said, it is clear that Notion offers a wide variety of options, but one can also spend many hours customizing their wallpapers, the tables they use, and so on instead of focusing on their digital system and second-brain methodology. The app offers different subscription options, ranging from Free to Enterprise, depending on the needs of the users/users.
Obsidian is a newer player which uses new ideas to create a second brain because the way it works is a bit different than the other apps mentioned earlier.
The app uses notes which are saved on the local drive of the user to create a knowledge management system, be it on a personal computer on the phone, which can be synced together. It is free to access, but the official syncing has to be paid for, though there are alternatives for that (like Google Drive).
The way these notes interact is interesting, the difference being that they use links and hastags to simulate the “synapes” of the human brain without using any hierarchical categorization, thus making it possibly the most similar to our biological brains.
Which second brain is the one for me?
This depends on a few factors and probably is the best for each person to think after reading a bit about them, but some things to keep in mind are: What mental resources do you have? What would you like from personal knowledge management? How are you consuming information? How are you making progress regarding your creative potential? What active projects do you have at the moment?
Some last thoughts on the second brain
The second brain is surely a great way to do some creative work, learn a new skill, use it for a new job, or to start a digital life. It depends on the person, but the most important thing is to choose what is best for yourself, keep learning, and be open to as many different second brains as possible!