David Clode | Unsplash | how Many brains do you need?

The brain is the organ of destiny. It holds within its humming mechanism secrets that will determine the future of the human race. Wilder Penfield

How many brains do you need?

How many brains do we need and what are they for? Seems like a silly question, but our biological brain is being drowned by the deluge of information we see daily. I have more things to remember than I want to admit to. No matter how you segment your life, responsibilities, and interests the number simply grows and grows. A simple segmentation is thinking, work, and family. In reality there are even more facets to many of our lives.

Biological Brain

My biological brain is for thinking, recognizing danger and evaluating what is going on. Now that I am almost 7 and a half decades along my journey in life, I am busier than ever. My segments include:

 1. Thinking

 2. Rotary Involvement

 3. Friends meeting involvement

 4. Writing my blog and newsletter

 5. Digital Productivity Tools: learning and evaluating

 6. Reading and note taking on all the subjects above plus many others.

 7. Continuous learning- currently taking Building a Second brain by Tiago Forte.

 8. Finances

 9. Living alone

 10. Cooking for one

And I’m sure I must have left some out. This should give you some hint of why I think we need more than one brain. While I was working, we expanded our brains and lessened the load on our biological brains by using calendars, paper files, then we got smarter and smarter phones. We took notes and filed them away in folders and filing cabinets, some never to be seen again. I still have paper notes in notebooks, but they are not really as accessible as I would like. What is the answer?

Build a second Brain.

The answer, of course, is to begin to build a digital brain. The fancy word for this effort is Personal Knowledge Management (PKM.) This is the way to utilize our digital devices to store all RELEVANT knowledge for our future selves. This includes things like course notes, random ideas we might have, documents we don’t want to lose, book summaries, interesting articles from the internet, etc. 

So, the key elements of your PKM are capturing information, organizing it so you can find it, then summarizing the key ideas in the book or article so they are yours, and then retrieval of the relevant ideas. Tiago’s acronym is C.O.D.E. for Capture, Organize, Distill, and Express. His course is oriented and focused on this process because he believes, as I do, that the endpoint of all the information you capture in your second brain is to use it to express your opinions about your world you live in.

We accomplish this by finding our areas of interest and capturing that information into our digital brain. Then we organize it using either the hierarchical method (a group of folders containing like information) or in interlinked blocks of information (neural networks like our biological brain.)  Either of these methods works. It is simply up to you as to which you are more comfortable with. As we explore notetaking in the next 5 or 6 blogs, I will go into each of these methods in more detail and look at the digital applications you might use to implement your digital brain. The younger you are when you start doing this the richer your second brain will be for your future self.

Your digital Brain

To wrap things up here today. Your digital brain will enable you to keep information and easily find it when someone asks a question. You will be able instantly to find when some topic was previously discussed in a meeting you attended. Finding contact information and the interests of all the people you have met on your life’s journey will remain at your fingertips. See a name and instantly get the context of when and where you met them(vital as you grow older and your contacts become like the grains of sand in the desert.)

Fill the brain with high thoughts, highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work. Swami Vivekananda