Joel Dare

Gains I’m seeing from my second brain tool

I’ve been using my “second brain” tool and I’m seeing some serious advantages.

I’m writing more

Because it’s low friction, I tend to write more notes. I spend a significant part of my day in a web browser. To make note taking easy, I’m keeping it open in a pinned tab and that’s encouraging me to write more.

I understand my productivity better

I’ve started to keep track of my monthly accomplishments in one of my notes. I set an alarm, on my phone, to update it once a week. It’s made me hyper-aware of my productivity.

I’m thinking more

There’s something about writing that causes me to think more. It’s most prevalent when I write with pen and paper, which I do often, but it also happens when I type. The process of organizing my thoughts seems to beget more thoughts.

I’m managing my health better

I’ve started a few notes that are important for my health. I’m tracking my medications, having a list of the medications I take regularly and in what quantities. I’ve started to write down ideas about poor food choices I make. I was able to keep good timelines of symptom onset, test results, and symptoms that progressed over time when I got sick recently.

I’m managing my subscriptions better

We live in an increasingly subscription based society. I’ve started to keep track of my subscriptions in a simple note. Every time I add a new subscription, get an email about a payment, or notice it on my bill, I make a note of the service and it’s cost. I have more of these than I realized, there are some that I don’t use and should cancel, and there are some that throwing a few more dollars at will increase my value. My subscriptions include web hosting services, TV and music, software apps, etc.

My spelling is better

This one surprised me. The spell check in my browser is somehow better than the spell checking I get elsewhere. I’m not sure exactly why this is, but I assume that my browser uses it’s own dictionary rather than the system dictionary. For some reason, it seems to be better. It’s also somehow easier to correct spelling errors in the browser than the other tools I use. I’m not entirely sure I’ve got my head wrapped around why this is the case, but it’s a positive thing I’ve noticed.

I’m tracking decisions

I make small decisions every day and I often forget them. As a simple example, I recently decided to use underscore more often than hyphens. I created a note to describe my rationale for this decision. The next time I was writing variable names, I remembered that I prefer underscore but I couldn’t remember why. I pulled up my note and reminded myself why I might prefer underscore.

Today I’m releasing Nolific as open source

The tool I created is now called Nolific. I continue to get immense value from it as I work to improve it for my own needs. This month I’ve come up with the name, registered the domain name, and released it as open source. If you’re interested, check it out on Github.

Written by Joel Dare on January 31, 2022