Hierarchial knowledge | clay Banks |Unsplash.com

Carl Sandburg: “Everybody is smarter than anybody.”

Knowledge shared is knowledge squared.

What is your Digital Brain?

 Your digital brain is first, digital, on a computer or in a cloud, or both. It is the place where we put everything so our future self can find it. It is not dependent on what kind of computer you use or what kind of operating system runs the computer. The computer is just the electronic device that holds it all. It is not dependent on what application you use.

 You don’t have to be a computer genius, be able to write programs, design systems, or any of that stuff. What you do have to do is after we talk about tools (i.e., applications that run on your computer,) you will have to choose which one you want to use and then spend enough time learning how to use it. When I talk about tools, I will categorize them by which are easier to use than others, which ones will take longer for you to become proficient at using, and which ones are based on a hierarchical structure or network structure. 

 And most importantly, as you get started, I will be happy to answer any questions you have. Either by email or in a zoom session. My goal is to help you get started on your personal knowledge management system with the least amount of friction. TO send me a message or schedule a zoom call go to the Contact Me page and send me a form.

Is it just like a filing cabinet?

 Many of the digital tools that are available are built expecting you to organize your information using a hierarchical structure. Much like we have been using for the last 50+ years. This structure assumes you have a container like a filing cabinet in which you place folders. Each folder contains the information. You can see this in a doctor’s office when you go in and see the shelves with the folders with colored stickers on them. The colored stickers are used to further divide the folders into groups, perhaps by alphabet or doctor. Instead of filing drawers, you can have notebooks on shelves, or you can build a structure to gather and sort everything into groups.

Or do you want it to be a network?

 An alternative to this hierarchical structure has come into vogue in the last few years. In this alternative, we save things and link them in a relational network structure, much like the brain stores information.

 The advantage to this is that you don’t have to choose where to put your thought, document, or note because everything is interconnected. You do have to choose where to put things in the hierarchical structure. In a hierarchy, if it could possibly fit in two places you either must copy it and put it into both or make a choice. In a network structure, you simply save it once and link it to both places you might want to find it.

Clint Adair|unsplash.com | nodes and links

What is our digital brain going to do for us in our PKM?

 Our digital brain is a key element of our PKM. Before we decide which structure, we want to use for our brain we need to think about how we are going to use the digital brain’s information. What is our goal and where are you in your timeline of building it? For example, if you are just starting and you are in high school or college you will be building a large digital brain throughout your life. This is the ideal time to start but as everyone says the “second best time” is now. 

 Wherever you are in your PKM journey I am willing to help you either build or perhaps improve your PKM. Contact me by filling out the form on my website

So, what will our PKM do for us?

 1. It will store anything and everything we want it to. Notes, random ideas, pictures, important documents, financial information, health information, where you lived, where you worked, where you vacationed, etc.

 2. It will allow you to easily retrieve the information from your brain by using strong, flexible search functions. You will be able to search for titles, keywords, thoughts, names, dates, locations, key events in your life, etc. your brain will then bring that information up for you to look at. No more searching for hours to find your address from 15 years ago. Your digital brain can find it for you in seconds. Of course, you had to put it in there so it could be found.

 3. It will ensure that we don’t lose important things like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates. No more struggling through file folders to find what you want.

 4. If your future self decides at some point that you want to become a writer, the digital brain will contain ideas for stories, all the interesting stories from your life, and interesting ideas from everything you have read throughout your life and studies.

 5. It will help us keep track of our tasks, projects, goals, and areas of responsibility and will remind us of what needs to be done (PKM Pillar 1 Getting Stuff Done.)

Why Start Now?

 When I started my college and then working career, PKM wasn’t a choice you could make. If you saved anything you saved it in a file cabinet, notebook, or folder. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent searching through file cabinets and folders for specific information. Nor can I tell how many 100’s of pounds of paper that I have thrown away hoping I would never need it again. For years I stored boxes of notes from my daughter’s life as well, which we finally threw away. The only thing I can tell you is that doing things that way today is a waste! I wasted time, lost information I later wanted or needed to know, and wasted more time trying to retrieve information. Why make life harder for your future self than it needs to be? 

I encourage you to stick with me and build a PKM. The outcome will simplify your life.

Here are links to the first two PKM Pillars in case you missed them.

PKM: Pillar 1: Getting things Done

PKM: Pillar 2 Your biological Brain

And my website to sign up for the rest of the blogs on this topic and so you will know when the zoom calls will occur- theholeu.com

Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell: “You can’t manage knowledge — nobody can. What you can do is to manage the environment in which knowledge can be created, discovered, captured, shared, distilled, validated, transferred, adopted, adapted, and applied.”