The Second Brain Method for Higher Productivity: A Guide to Achieving Your Goals - Deepstash

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Can you remember everything?

Can you remember everything?

Imagine a world where you can remember anything that matters. A system that helps you find any information you once thought useful. And a system that answers all your questions.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?


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The Second Brain Method

The Second Brain Method

This type of system may be complicated if you start from scratch. But it doesn’t have to.

In this issue, I will show you how to build a second brain to remember and keep track of anything you need in only four steps.


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The Challenge

The Challenge

You are reading an excerpt from The Challenge, a newsletter where I discuss self-improvement, goal-setting, habits, time management, and health tips and tricks.

Every week, you will get the following:

  • a challenge to pursue to improve your life
  • an infographic to track it.

Subscribe now to help me continue publishing this type of content.


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The Organizational Dilemma

The Organizational Dilemma

I am an organizational geek. I love to track everything that goes around my mind. And every time I think about a new project, I build an infographic or Notion page to keep track of everything I need to do to succeed.

But I never thought about a system so complete that keeps track of my whole life.

I would make it complicated if I had to do it myself. But specificity limits the possibility of searching for information. So, my second brain would become a useless database.

We have to simplify things achieve high searchability and versatility. And that’s what Tiago Forte did with his PARA method.


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What is the PARA Method? (1)

What is the PARA Method? (1)

PARA is an organizational method developed by Tiago Forte to track and organize goals. It became famous a few years ago when people started using it to build a “second brain.” And thanks to its simplicity, it became the starting point for any new beginner.

When I first tried to build a second brain, I didn’t know about the PARA method. So, I invented complicated strategies that only made things harder. But then, I adopted PARA for my Notion second brain, and it changed everything.


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What is the PARA Method? (2)

What is the PARA Method? (2)

PARA stands for Project, Areas, Resources, and Archive. And the method uses these four categories to identify anything you might want to track in your life.

  • A Project is a short-term goal in your work or private life.
  • An Area is a long-term responsibility or goal you want to track over months or years.
  • A Resource is any interesting topic that may become useful in the future.
  • An Archive is a generic container for inactive tasks of the other three categories.

But let’s see how to use them in your Notion template.


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How does the PARA method work? (1)

How does the PARA method work? (1)

The human brain is so complicated we haven’t understood yet how everything works.

We decoded some behaviors over the past centuries. But most of them are still a mystery we may never uncover.

For centuries, we thought forgetting was a memory glitch. An error that happens in our brain and forbids us to remember everything we wanted. But, in reality, it is our strongest feature.

Think about a world where you can remember anything you want. That would include any traumatic experience, unhappy moment, or failed relationship you had. It would be impossible to go ahead in life.


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How does the PARA method work? (2)

How does the PARA method work? (2)

However, forgetting can also be frustrating when you can’t find the keys to your car and have to go to work. Or when you know you have to do a fundamental task for a project but can’t remember which.

In all those cases, a second brain that doesn’t forget things will be an invaluable resource. And it would be great if this system is less complicated than your brain. So, PARA is the perfect fit for this job since it categorizes everything into only four categories.

Here’s how you can do it with the Notion template.



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1 – Find your Areas.

1 – Find your Areas.

First, identify all the points of interest in your life. They may be:

  • Work areas like marketing, product management, design, etc.
  • Or private areas like health, finance, family, hobbies, etc.

Identify those areas and add them to your second brain. They will have a progression bar that shows how much you have accomplished and will contain all your projects divided by status.

In the Notion template, I added a few pre-defined areas for you: Hobbies, Work, Social Life, Finance, Health, Family, and House.


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2 – Create your Projects. (1)

2 – Create your Projects. (1)

Now, it’s time to think about the short-term goals you must do to advance in those areas.

You can see projects as macro goals to achieve. And, for every project, you can write many tasks and subtasks to track your improvements.

In the template, every project has:

  • A r eference to the area it belongs to.
  • A status between New, Planned, In Progress, or Completed.
  • The start and due date.
  • A priority property.
  • And the completion bar based on the tasks you finish.


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2 – Create your Projects. (2)

2 – Create your Projects. (2)

So, for each project, you will also have many tasks. And each of them will contain:

  • A status between New, Next Action, and Completed. Also, as we saw in a recent article on productivity, you can use the Eisenhower Matrix to delegate or eliminate tasks. So, you can also give these two statuses.
  • A due date, which I recommend you always complete.
  • The project it belongs to.
  • And other custom properties like the description and URL.

Furthermore, you can split tasks into subtasks and link them through the Parent Task property.


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3 – Store your Resources.

3 – Store your Resources.

In the resource section, you can collect anything you want. So, you will have many properties for each resource.

  • The status shows a New, To Review, or Reviewed resource.
  • You can then subdivide resources by type.
  • You can put a description and URL for each or even upload files to Notion.
  • And you can subdivide resources by topic and link them to specific areas.


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4 – Keep everything in the Archive.

4 – Keep everything in the Archive.

For any of the other three types of elements, you will have an archive checkbox to send them to this section.

In the archive, you can find anything you worked on in the past. So, if you ever need it, you can find it here.

And that’s how you build a second brain!



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How to Build a Second Brain Efficiently

How to Build a Second Brain Efficiently

According to Tiago Forte, your brain’s goal is to generate ideas. Don’t overload it by trying to remember any deadline you have in life.

With this definition, the second brain becomes your support to keep all kinds of stuff. But how can you do it efficiently?

Tiago’s CODE (Capture, Organize, Distill, and Express) methodology helps you do that.


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1 – Capture

1 – Capture

Capturing new ideas is the first thing you will have to do.

Usually, when we have a new idea, we write it somewhere and forget about it. But we’re not consistent at keeping those ideas in the same place.

However, a second brain provides a common place where to store anything. You can add a resource or create a project (if the idea is complex enough).

In both cases, you can keep those ideas there for months or years and only start working on them when you’re ready.


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2 – Organize

2 – Organize

As you collect resources, you might feel the urge to categorize them in a strict hierarchy. But, if you resist the temptation, you will have at least two benefits:

  • First, you will spark new connections between topics if you keep them in the same cauldron. And you will probably have more ideas.
  • Second, it will learn to store only relevant information and avoid overloads.

Also, if you haven’t looked at old information in the past few months, the chance is you don’t need it. So, pick everything you stored until now, and put it in the archive section.


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3 – Distill

3 – Distill

When I started filling my second brain, I used to paste the links to any idea I had and leave it there for future projects.

But then, I had to read the entire article or see the video again to extract information. So now, I write a short bullet list to have a summary every time I want to use it.


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4 – Express

4 – Express

Once everything is ready, you can use the collected information to express your thoughts. So, pick an idea from here, one from there, mix them, and create something unique.


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The Benefits of a Second Brain

The Benefits of a Second Brain

Everything seems fine and beautiful from the outside. But why should you build a second brain? Is it that advantageous? Or is it only a waste of time?

You choose. Here are a few benefits you will get once you build one.

  • Reduce stress and confusion.
  • Keep it (everything) simple, stupid.
  • Find everything you need.
  • Track your goals and progression.
  • Deep work.


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Build your second brain with Notion by downloading the free template and completing the fields.

Start with the Areas, then complete Projects and link Resources. Also, put every information you collected until now in the Archive section.




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Before you Go

Before you Go

If you loved the newsletter and want to support my work, subscribe and share The Challenge with your friends and families!

Or, if you want to read more of my content, visit the Cosmopolitan Mindset.

Subscribe now to help me continue publishing this type of content.


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Passionate about self-improvement, personal growth, finance, and creativity. I love to inspire people to become the better version of themselves. Author @


Elevate your productivity! Learn to build your Second Brain using the powerful PARA Method in 4 simple steps. Achieve your goals with enhanced cognitive efficiency.


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