🧠 Building a Second Brain

If you are anything like me, you consume tons of information every day. Over time, I built the habit of saving the most valuable things in someplace, like a note-taking app to read them later. But the problem is that I realised despite saving all these kinds of information, I would often forget what I had saved and why I did it at that time. There was a missing link between all those resources.

Then recently, I stumbled upon a Youtube video talking about the idea of building a second brain, a system designed to organise our knowledge. It got me pretty excited about the notion of having a systematic approach that would help me relate these bits of information with each other. If, together, I could put them to better use in the future when I needed them. So, I started to research more about it.

What is Building a Second Brain?

From this article of Tiago Forte, author of the course Building a Second Brain, here is how he illustrates the concept:

Building A Second Brain is a methodology for saving and systematically reminding us of the ideas, inspirations, insights, and connections we’ve gained through our experience. It expands our memory and our intellect using the modern tools of technology and networks.

This methodology is not only for preserving those ideas, but turning them into reality. It provides a clear, actionable path to creating a “second brain” – an external, centralized, digital repository for the things you learn and the resources from which they come.

You can imagine a Second Brain as a place to store the relevant information curated for yourself and organised in a connected way.

Why Building a Second Brain?

Here are some of the reasons why building a Second Brain can be beneficial:

  1. Creating the habit of capturing information, often we have some idea, that if it resonates with us, we know that it may be helpful in another time. We want to capture this idea before our brain forgets it. It builds a good habit of storing these ideas for later use.
  2. Investing in your future memory, the backlog of information stored in our second brain may be helpful in future ideas. We may not use them right away, but they can come in handy at another time. If we have all these insights saved and organised, it will be much easier to use them in the future.
  3. Information Overload, nowadays we consume a lot of media, and it is impossible to keep up with everything. It is crucial to filter the information that is relevant to ourselves. The goal is not to remember everything but to have the essential things saved somewhere to access at any given time.
  4. Idea Recycling, a piece of information or an idea can be used multiple times. Therefore in the future, they can be reused or combined with other ideas. In a way, we are putting the building blocks together to create something more significant.

How to Build a Second Brain?

Use any note-taking app. I use Notion, but there are plenty of options like Evernote, Roam Research, RemNote, Obsidian, to name a few. You pick the one that you like the most.

I have started to put this system into practice. In the beginning, I always have the temptation to build a super-detailed template to track my ideas. But it is easier to jump into the action first and develop the system over time. I write down the thoughts and ideas you have throughout the day and collect information I find interesting. For example, suppose I am watching a Youtube video, and there is something that resonates with me. In that case, I will add it to Notion and write a few comments about it, so later I know why I kept that video. These things may be helpful for a future project or blog post such as this one. Still, most importantly, they will be saved somewhere to link with other existing ideas, whether in the present or the future.


  • Building a Second Brain: An Overview. Link
  • Why I Have a Second Brain. Youtube
  • The Second Brain - A Life-Changing Productivity System. Youtube
Hugo Matalonga
Written by
Hugo Matalonga