Inspired by Tiago Forte’s book
- It frees your mind from worrying about things you aren’t doing or might be forgetting — you will literally be able to think more.
- You will notice more ideas you have just below your consciousness and be able to more consciously act about when your intuition is guiding you towards.
- This will make it really easy to reuse things and move faster the second time you do something.
- You will spend less time looking for things because everything has a reliable home.
- You can be more aggressive at not doing or deleting / archiving things from projects because it’s easy to get them back (increases your focus).
- You will be more deliberate about how you consume and prioritize things.
- This will reduce worry / stress about cleaning up (since you just do it every week on some schedule).
Short term things that have a definite end date.
Don’t be afraid of having “too many”
Ongoing things you are responsible for for a long term. They might not have a clear end date.
Things that might be useful in the future. No specific actions are required.
Inactive things from other areas that move here when completed / abandoned.
And don’t build hierarchies below these unless you really need them. Flatter is better to quickly see everything there is.
Feynman did this and people were always amazed at how he connected random things in his life to big problems. It was because he kept them top of mind.
I like matter
they take away the urgency of needing to read something immediately or never at all
- you end up reading less because you realize things aren’t important in the context of your entire read later app
you can batch all your random internet reading into a more deliberate time you pick
it’s really easy to highlight things and save them
I want to put a rule where I can’t watch any videos I see for 24 hours
I am looking for a tool where I can highlight YouTube video transcripts right into Notion
Some may say that using something like this is just an excuse to not build discipline. I am somewhat sympathetic to this argument but you require an order of magnitude more discipline than previous generations because teams of PhDs sit around all day engineering their products to be addictive. You need tools to fight this.
Highlights of passages
Bookmarks to favorite websites
Meeting notes / agendas
Takeaways / lessons learned form things
Favorite stories (yours or even other people’s)
Insights / realizations
Musings / random thoughts
Anything that inspires you
Information that would be useful to a hacker like ID docs, finances, passwords, sensitive health records etc
Special file formats that are hard to open in your notes app
Very large apps that will make the app lag
Things to work collaboratively on (though Notion is probably okay)
First bold everything that’s important
Second read all the bold things and highlight what’s most important
Write an executive summary at the top if a you review the note a lot or many people will review the note
This is an important part of starting the creative process and preparing for meetings.
- Improve communication across your business.
- Make the content you read more actionable
- Avoid repeating work.
- Reduce the amount of time you spend searching for things.
Where do things already accumulate? For me they are
- Computer desktop
- Downloads folder
- Apple notes (since I use Notion for second brain)
- Camera roll / photo library
Just make a choice. I use Notion.
- Computer scientists / power users might like Obsidian
- You can also just use Apple Notes (I use Apple notes for quick input)
- Some people also like OneNote or Evernote — just pick one to use
Use a read later app like Matter
- People also like Pocket and Instapaper but Matter is free and syncs really easily
Download your note app’s web clipper if it has one
Do this in your
- Computer File System
- Google Drive, Dropbox,, etc
- Notes App
Make a folder for each active project. You should feel fine about having 20+ projects. Even 50+ isn’t a big deal.
Make sure you have these projects:
- Someday / Maybe (things you want to or might do at some point)
- 12 big problems you’re thinking about (personal, professional, academic - whatever strikes your interest)
You can just drag everything that already exists into archive (remember you can find it later by searching)
I use Things3
People also like Todoist, Wonderlist or TickTick — the important thing is just to pick one
Projects in your notes app
Waiting for (with the date you first asked about the thing you’re waiting for)
Delegated (if you’re a manager who oversees a lot of important projects)
The weekly review is essential for getting current on everything going on in your life and feeling like you are on top of what’s going on.
Copy my checklist below and adapt it for your system
I do Sunday ~8pm
Others do Thursday afternoon or sometime Friday so they can have a clear head going into the weekend
Purpose: get clear, get current, get creative