Be the Man with Two Brains

Only in movies can a man have two heads. I’m going to recommend that you have two brains.

The first brain is installed and you’re using it now very effectively by reading this post. The second brain requires only a writing instrument, some time and a habit formation.

The idea of a second brain is to use technology to offload the information that you receive every day and move it to a trusted place where you can benefit from it when needed.

Your brain is great at recognition, but pretty terrible at recall. It outperforms the fastest supercomputers on the former, and is outdone by a 1980’s solar calculator on the latter.” -Tiago Forte

The five phases of GTD include
(1) capture what has our attention;
(2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it;
(3) organize the results, which presents the options we
(4) reflect on, which we then choose to
(5) engage with.

Getting Things Done – David Allen

Using pen and paper, digital notes or recorder, you can get information out of your head and effectively use the second brain for capture, recall and processing.

Try it today and get your second brain out of the movies and into your real life.


A true GTD app

I have been following the work of Franscico Saez and his software FacileThings 2. It’s always been a thoughtful and powerful app to be more productive.

Recently the mobile version features have caught up to the web app and become a really useful tool in my work and life.

A lot of popular apps make the claim to be GTD (David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology) but that is open to debate. One feature hardly makes software GTD. FacileThings has the complete methodology built in which is no small feat. The five phases include:

(1) capture what has our attention;
(2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it;
(3) organize the results, which presents the options we
(4) reflect on, which we then choose to
(5) engage with.

You won’t find apps with the 5 Phases except at FacileThings.

There is a free thirty day trial that you can try out the whole system (mobile versions included).

Let me know what you think!

The FacileThings blog is one reason to follow Fransisco. You can find it here:

The tech I use in 2019

The technology I use is always in motion, just like the industry itself. My choices are organized in two lists: mature or emerging technologies. Mature Technologies are solutions that have full features and are cross platform for use in work and personal applications. They tend to be well funded and established with premium models in the marketplace. Emerging Tech are solutions I am watching closely to possibly switch to, are new or in development, not full featured or all cross platform. Companies are startups or small and may have free offerings.

Mature Tech
Note Taking: Microsoft OneNote
Office Productivity: Microsoft 365
Todo or Project Management:Todoist
Operating Systems: Windows 10, MacOS Mojave
Hardware Companies: Lenovo
Mobile: Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Tablet: Apple iPad
Wearables: FitBit Charge 2
Apps: TextExpander, 1Password,
Cloud Storage: Microsoft OneDrive

Emerging Tech
Note Taking: Notion, Google Keep
Office Productivity: Notion
Todo or Project Management: Microsoft Todo, Notion, Google Tasks
Operating Systems: Windows 10
Hardware Companies: Samsung
Mobile: Samsung Note 9
Tablet: Apple iPad
Wearables: Xenxo S Ring, Samsung Galaxy Watch
Cloud Storage: Google Drive

What technologies are you using this year and what are you looking to use in the future?

Year End Cleaning Up Notes

People love to create things but struggle with organizing and putting them away. I am in this camp.

Sunrise and Sunset

There are two important concepts in data management. The first one is the “sunrise” where information is created and becomes of value to people. The second concept is the “sunset” where data is organized and sorted, archived and deleted.

In my journey of converting 5,000 Evernote notes to OneNote, I found that my sunset data was difficult to manage. I have notes in unrelated folders, poorly written titles, poorly written notes, pictures, audio and video in random places. Imagine all those folks who are using paper note solutions and then trying to recall past information without a card catalog system. This is why I am a digital note taker. Cleaning up all of these past notes has become a chore and it’s painful trying to find information.

Having a powerful search engine helps. A tagging system is also helpful but should be added at the time of the note’s creation.

Get Better at Sunsetting

If you want to avoid the pain of finding old information, try to do the following:

  • Manually convert notes from one system to the next where you can organize, clarify, archive and delete old data
  • Create a descriptive title to the note
  • Take the time to craft the note with as much detail as possible for the “future you” who will not have the space/time context to help understanding
  • Add tags to aid searching
  • Make sure the note has a date/time stamp.
  • Sunset the note so that it is either placed in a folder (storage) and archived or deleted. This gets rid of junk information.
  • Bonus tip: sync your notes on your phone/PC/Mac and tablet to a cloud solution like Microsoft OneNote.

Goodbye Evernote


I love Evernote and have been a paying customer since 2009. I’ve created over five thousand notes since then and have greatly benefited from using the service.

For some time I have been waiting for Evernote to release a native handwriting solution and they just can’t seem to make it a priority. While I know there are ways to do this with third party apps, I’m not interested. I want a single solution. That’s why Microsoft OneNote is my new friend.

Over the next few weeks I will complete the transition away from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote and share my experiences along the way.

Image credit:

I Miss The Slow Days

Remember them? It seems like forever when I had nothing to do and life was in total control. Then life happens…you graduate, get married and get the big job. Then have 2.3 children and the race for your time, attention and sanity becomes the new normal. How I wish I could time travel back to my youth.

A note has this superpower of time travel. It represents a part of your work, thoughts and the purpose of your life. A journal entry captures time and helps you journey back when you want to. It creates history and context for the time you lived.

I started my note taking journal in my forties and wish I had the discipline and foresight to have started earlier. With only my memories and captured pictures, they are an incomplete story. Start today with your commitment to journal and write notes so that you have a full account of all of your days. When you have the time you can open your notes, travel back in time and relive the moments.

Photo by Recal Media from Pexels

Hey 45+ Year Olds!

The brain’s abilities to reason, comprehend and remember may start to worsen as early as age 45, a new study from England suggests.

“Psychologists researching the normal changes of aging have found that although some aspects of memory and processing change as people get older, simple behavior changes can help people stay sharp for as long as possible.”

If the research is accurate, we need tools to help ourselves age without the terrible loss of memory. Using Microsoft OneNote can act as a supplement and “external brain” to help you remember important information exactly when and where you need it.