The idea for this blog post came from the realization that I like most other people consume a lot of content daily. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, watch YouTube videos and documentaries, read blog posts, books and newsletters almost every single day.
A study conducted about a decade ago shows that the average America consumes about a hundred thousand words a day. This number has certainly increased over the decade due to the rise of social media platforms, smartphones where we can access any information that we want with a few clicks and gestures.
So what can we do to make this use of the abundance of information and content in this digital age? Here are some things that I do.
Build a Second Brain
This Idea of building a second brain comes from Tiago Forte who is the founder of Forte Labs which is a company which strives to make people more productive by using this idea of a second brain. Here’s how it goes…
Imagine you are currently a web designer who is looking for inspiration. You remember a particular design that you saw on a website that struck you a couple months ago but you can’t remember what exactly it looks like or how you stumbled upon the website.
You check your “Idea” Notebook to see whether you mention it in your “Cool Websites” section. You check your search history to locate the website. You ask friends if you have shared such a website before. You can’t find it
Now Imagine that you have a system in place whenever you read or listened to something cool about design, you screen capture it and place it in your Evernote Notebook. The next time you need find something you saw a couple months ago you can simply go on to Evernote and search “Cool Box Design” and find it.
This is the idea of the second brain, instead of your human brain capturing and trying to remember everything that is cool or insightful, your second brain will do it for you. Overtime, your “Cool Design” database can help you to gain inspiration and do your creative endeavor instead of relying too much on your human brain to do both. It can also be a trip down memory lane when you check out your design database a couple of years down the road.
You can use this idea of a second brain using whatever note taking app but I recommend reading about this concept over at Tiago Forte’s Praxis Blog or other blogs and online videos.
Be More Selective
You don’t have to consume every startup CEO’s Tweets or every productivity YouTubers video or every book about the significance of habits.
You just have to choose one or two and stick with it.
Whether you read the books such as Power of Habits, Atomic Habits, High Performance or only one of them, it does not matter. What matters is the main idea which is that habits good, start good habits and replace bad habits. That is what actually matters. Choose what you think matters and is the best and stick to it.
What if instead of just aimlessly consuming content, you can make use of it to produce your own. Instead of reading blogs, why not start with your own? Instead of binge watching YouTube, why not create videos? The barrier to entry in the digital world is very low. All you need is a smart device and some internet connection. Anyone can publish YouTube videos, anyone can start an Instagram account, anyone can offer their freelance services on websites such as Fiverr.
All you got to do is start and create or as Gary Vaynerchuck says “Document, Don’t Create” . You don’t have to create a Hollywood Movie or create a start-up in Silicon Valley, you can just film yourself doing whatever you do whether it is studying for an exam or doing some work. In the words of Shia LaBeouf “JUST DO IT!” .
This brings me to the end of this Blog Post, I have linked some resources to further readings which you may find interesting.
Blogs about Second Brain – Blogs about this idea of creating a Second Brain by Forte Labs
Resonance Calendar by Ali Abdaal – A simple way to start building your second brain using noiton
Hack Your Habits – A Blog by me about Habits
GaryVee YT Channel – Gary Vaynerchuck is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and internet personality
¹ Inspired by Ali Abdaal’s Resonance Calendar which is based on Tiago Forte’s Idea about a second brain