Building a Second Brain

An online bootcamp on leveraging digital tools to enhance 
your creativity, productivity, and learning, by Tiago Forte

BASED ON FORTE LABS' WORK WITH THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS AND OVER 25,000 ONLINE LEARNERS

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected
Read the essay that inspired the course:
What could you do if you had a personal knowledge base that appreciated over time?

 

What's included?

Real-world examples, note templates, and in-depth case studies from Tiago's experience introducing knowledge management systems to world-class performers and organizations

Weekly exercises to practice and integrate new techniques, with feedback and guidance from Tiago and fellow learners

Video recordings for every unit in two formats: full-length live session recording (~45m per unit) + condensed lecture and walkthroughs with voiceover narration (~20m per unit)

Onboarding survey to customize content to needs of the group, and individual pre and post-course assessments to track your progress

Downloadable slides and chat transcripts for all sessions

The Roadmap

A 5-week online bootcamp, July 17-August 21, 2017
Lectures on Mondays, 5:00-6:30pm Pacific time
Discussion sessions (optional) on Thursdays, 9:00-10:00am Pacific time 
Do I have to use Evernote to get value from this program?
 
Absolutely not. In fact, one of my core principles is not being dependent on any one tool. BUT, most of the examples and implementation guidance will be for Evernote. I'll do my best to adapt recommendations for other tools, but can't make promises.

Q

Frequently Asked Questions

Week 2
July 24 | Unit 3: Digital Cognition, Unit 4: Progressive Summarization

July 27 Discussion session #2 (optional)
Week 3
July 31 | Unit 5: Maximizing Return-on-AttentionUnit 6: Just-In-Time Project Management

August 3 | Discussion session #3 (optional)
Week 4
August 7 | Unit 7: PKM Workflow Canvas

August 10 Discussion session #4 (optional)
Week 1
July 17 | Unit 1: Introduction, Unit 2: Organizing for Insight

July 20 Discussion session #1 (optional)

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Are there any pre-requisites for this course?
 
Although there are no formal prerequisites, I expect you to be reasonably fluent in using technology, and for the examples, you'll need to know the basics of how to use Evernote. I recommend Brett Kelly's Evernote Essentials to learn the basics, and Stacey Harmon's Radical Productivity with Evernote course for a comprehensive program.
Where does this material come from?
 
I'll draw heavily from the fields of behavioral science, cognitive psychology, design thinking, human-centered and UX design, and theory of constraints. But the primary source is my experience consulting, training, and coaching some of the highest-performing creative professionals in the world, in multiple industries, inside organizations and out.
Your Instructor
Enroll below and join us on this journey
Your Satisfaction Is 100% Guaranteed Or Your Money Back Within the First Two Weeks of the Course

Copyright © 2017 Forte Labs LLC

What if I don't like it?
 
I'll do everything I can to make sure you get every ounce of value possible. A major benefit of videoconferencing and the online forum is that I can interact with you individually. But if you complete the first half of the program and decide it isn't providing the value promised, I will happily refund your payment, no questions asked (ok maybe just a few to see how I can improve).

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A flexible skill-set in building and maintaining a digital note-taking system

A toolkit of proven techniques, templates, and software programs

A community of peers and over 100 alumni to interact with and learn from in a private forum

More specifically...
Christine Walther Tripp
Executive Director, The Walther Foundation
San Francisco, CA
 
"Building a Second Brain was just the class I was looking for to help me take my work in education philanthropy to the next level. Not only did I learn how to build a system to organize my sources and notes, but I also learned a technique to process this information to keep it alive. Now I know how to add value by growing the resources I collect into actionable ideas to take back out into the field."
Testimonials
David Allen
Founder, David Allen Company

Author, Getting Things Done

"...what’s fascinating to me is that there haven’t been a lot of people, and it’s why I wanted to grab you for this conversation, there haven’t been a lot of people that I’ve run across who caught sort of the subtlety of the art of work. That people just work, but they don’t realize that it’s an art form...I love how you think about all this stuff and how you’ve been putting it together."


-from interview with Tiago Forte

Tiago Forte
Productivity Consultant, Coach, and Trainer Founder of Forte Labs

Editor of online publication Praxis

Capture, Organize, and Retrieve Your Ideas Using Digital Notes

Stacey Harmon
Evernote Certified Consultant, Founder of Harmon Enterprises
Guest Instructor: Business applications and workflow design
Ting Kelly
UX Designer, Brand Strategist
Guest Instructor: Experience design for creative flow
Chuck Frey
Digital Marketing Strategist, Founder of Mind Mapping Software Blog
Guest Instructor: Creative problem-solving and visual thinking
Renee Fishman
Business Coach, Change Management Consultant
Guest Instructor: Creating productivity rituals

Enter your email address for more 
information and upcoming course dates

Questions? Email the Course Manager: [email protected]

Enhanced creative confidence 
from an integrated system for 
recording and retrieving insights
Deeper insights into your
patterns of thinking and
learning over time
Greater clarity and focus
from offloading your
thinking onto reliable tools
Higher productivity from 
re-using and recombining 
work deliverables
Accelerate your learning
by tracking and adding value to your notes over time
Relaxed control of projects
from knowing that your
ideas are being captured
Can't make the live sessions? No problem!

All live session recordings, lecture videos, exercises, and 
discussions will be available online, on demand, on any device.

The Promise of the Course

You will learn how to capture, organize, and retrieve your ideas and insights using digital notes, with a systematic approach and tools that you trust to support creative breakthroughs in your work

Need help convincing the boss? Click here to download a proposal template
Most large organizations, and many smaller ones, will reimburse tuition for professional development

8 units of lecture content 
presented by Tiago Forte in 5 live videoconferencing sessions (including Q&A and breakout rooms)

Condensed lecture recordings 
with voiceover narration. Watch Unit 1 as an example

Weekly live discussion sessions (optional) for Q&A and extended discussion (scheduled on Thursdays at 9am Pacific for European time zones)

Access to an exclusive online discussion forum, including a collective knowledge base, source notes, additional resources, and tool recommendations for all units

Not to mention...

*GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of The David Allen Company, and this course is not endorsed by or affiliated with them in any way

A Letter from Tiago

Here is the simple truth: you cannot afford to keep everything in your head. You need tools to help you remember, so you can focus on thinking and creating.

I've made a living from my collection of digital notes for the last 4 years, turning my ideas and research into blog posts, online courses, workshops and trainings, slide presentations, talks, and other projects to build my business, Forte Labs.

In this bootcamp, I'll show you how to create a system of your own. To capture your ideas and make them shine in your business or workplace. To have more time for the things that really matter. And to focus your energy on showing up more fully at work and at home.

This course is about giving you the confidence to know what's worth pursuing, what's not, and what's next.

If you're paid to think for a living, you can't afford to stop investing in the most powerful tool at your disposal - your mind. Will you join me?

Sincerely,

Tiago

The Full Curriculum

Unit 1: Introduction to the Course

  • What to expect: schedule, roadmap, format, communication, and the 3 pillars of the course
  • Our objective: to learn how to use digital notes as thinking tools — to capture, organize, and retrieve our ideas and insights
  • What is Personal Knowledge Management, and why does it matter?
  • Why organization and collaboration are the missing links in creative knowledge work
  • Exercise: Evaluate your knowledge management skills across 11 dimensions of performance and confidence (with post-course evaluation to measure your progress)

Unit 2: Organizing for Insight

  • Review the 8 requirements for a universal digital organizational system
  • Understand the subtle but important difference between short-term projects and ongoing areas of responsibility
  • Feeling unorganized? Deploy the P.A.R.A. method to organize all your digital information across multiple platforms
  • Discover why almost no one has an effective Project List (a dashboard of current commitments) and how to fix it step by step, with feedback and guidance
  • Banish information overload using Magic Number 4: a helpful constraint to preserve your working memory
  • Hone your ability to scale your attention at different horizons using actionability gradients
  • Exercise: Update and clarify your Project List, and use it to organize your files across all platforms using the P.A.R.A. method

Unit 3: Digital Cognition

  • Use the 4 essential requirements for digital note-taking to help you evaluate and select a digital note-taking program
  • How to amplify the single biggest opportunity for making new connections without expending more time and effort: productive randomness
  • Stigmergy: practical lessons on productivity from the study of emergence
  • How to utilize the under-appreciated power of incubation: heavy lifts vs. slow burns
  • What the Feynman Method can teach us about "punching above our intellectual weight"
  • Find out how the best note-takers build intellectual capital using compounding gains
  • Transform raw material into knowledge ammunition: how to use digital notes to form valuable bodies of knowledge for a side project, career advancement, or new business
  • Exercise: Identify your personal research and learning priorities using the Feynman Method, as a filter for incoming information

Unit 4: Progressive Summarization

  • Understand the pros and cons of tagging-first, notebook-first, and note-first database designs
  • Become skilled at balancing discoverability and understanding to increase the return-on-investment of your note taking
  • Don’t have time for reading and research? Apply Progressive Summarization to expose semantic triggers and create value in any span of time
  • Strategic laziness over rigid rules: note-taking strategies that leverage human nature, instead of fighting it
  • How to design individual notes for “glanceability” and recognition over recall
  • Moving from “black box” knowledge management to a Personal Information Landscape
  • Avoiding the perils of problem definition: balancing compression vs. context
  • Exercise: Practice Progressive Summarization on one of your notes

Unit 5: Maximizing Return-on-Attention

  • Explore the hard science of transient hypofrontality: how to maximize mental states of flow for performance, enjoyment, and learning
  • Understanding the impact of setup and transaction costs (environmental, mental, and emotional) on productivity
  • How to create intermediate packets: exposing your personal value chain for rapid feedback and learning
  • Become interruption-proof: placeholding, chunking, and modular deliverables
  • Understand the relationship between small batch sizes, quality, learning, and experiences of flow for knowledge workers
  • Wresting with knowledge: why interacting with information is so much more effective than consuming it
  • Encoding variability: how to externalize your thinking and accelerate your learning using different types of media
  • Exercise: Turn one of your notes into a new deliverable designed to generate valuable, targeted feedback

Unit 6: Just-In-Time Project Management

  • Learn Just-In-Time Project Management: a pull system for managing reference materials and executing on deliverables
  • Why you should think of workflow as strategy, and apply solutions to specific problems
  • Divergence and convergence: use design thinking to escape any dead-end
  • Choose from among 16 proven workflow strategies, with examples, case studies, and downloadable templates
  • Banish procrastination using the Archipelago of Ideas approach to new projects
  • Mood-based productivity: using fast cycle time, opportunistic tagging, and active sorting to maintain motivation and leverage unique states of mind
  • How to generate novel insights and valuable deliverables using personal design sprints
  • Using universal design principles (affordances, signifiers, constraints, mappings, and feedback) to plan the structure of your work
  • Exercise: Select and try out 3 of the 16 workflow strategies on one or more of your projects or deliverables

Unit 7: PKM Workflow Canvas

  • Step-by-step walkthrough to complete our proprietary PKM Workflow Canvas, an evolving map of your personal knowledge management system
  • Review your notes from all the previous units to select the techniques you will integrate into your workflow
  • Summarize your main learnings from the course, as a checklist and reminder for future projects
  • Visualize the map of your personal knowledge management system, in a physical artifact that can be improved over time
  • Get feedback on further areas for improvement, based on the exercises you completed in the course
  • In-depth case study of using PKM to rapidly plan and execute a Forte Labs client project
  • Exercise: Complete your PKM Workflow Canvas with the tools, techniques, and strategies you've selected and customized for your needs

Unit 8: The Big Picture

  • Container vs. stream thinking: changing paradigms for a world of information abundance
  • Understand why situational awareness and curation are the key skills required to navigate streams of information
  • Learn how to strengthen creative confidence by identifying and overcoming limiting beliefs around your productivity, thinking, and learning
  • Realize the full potential of digital notes: integrating P.A.R.A. + Progressive Summarization + Workflow Strategies into your daily routine
  • The future of productivity and personal knowledge management

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Do I have to take the bundled course Get Stuff Done Like a Boss before this one starts?
 
No...but I recommend it. We'll be building on the foundational principles introduced in that course, and having a functional GTD workflow already in place will be a huge level-upper for this bootcamp. At a minimum, I recommend watching the videos, which only takes a couple hours total.
What if I can't make the live sessions at 5pm Pacific time on Mondays? (for example, European time zones)
 
No problem! A condensed version of each lecture will be released online immediately after the session ends, so you'll have Tuesday, Wednesday, and most of Thursday to watch it. The optional discussion session on Thursdays at 9am Pacific will be your chance to ask questions and get some of that sweet, sweet live interaction

Q

A

Justin Brandt
Graduate student in Systems Engineering
San Jose State University

Bonus: Get Stuff Done Like a Boss
Tiago's self-paced online course on the Getting Things Done* method, with over 15,000 students enrolled and a 97% approval rating

Ryan Fitton
Digital Analyst, Jora
Melbourne, Australia
 
"There is nothing on the web that will arm you with the perspectives encompassed within Building a Second Brain...With exposure to ideas such as manipulating traditional ‘flow’ states, how to become interruption-proof and getting a grip on your projects — the course is comprehensively transformative… Coupled with an extremely valuable community group, you are free to experiment with ideas, share and implement techniques and get valuable feedback. Whether it’s a complete mindset shift, a new way to use tools, defining and re-organising your projects, seamlessly capturing information, the ability to *use* rather than simply *consume*, or allowing for spontaneous connections — Building a Second Brain creates a space in your digital life which turns chaos into a bespoke system and approach to the digital landscape which optimises for creativity."
Christian Champ, CFA
Director, THL Credit
Chicago, IL
 
"In addition to Tiago's moderated sessions, you get to learn from a talented group of individuals that are taking the class with you, participating in breakout sessions and chatting on the message boards. This network effect allows you to experience and see how others are creating their systems, refining and remixing some of the techniques offered in the sessions and sharing additional information, thoughts and discussions relevant to the goals of the course. The amount of content that was created and shared by the participants provided immense value. Hearing how someone working in technology to finance to media to product management was using the methods introduced in the course opened me up to new approaches and avenues to test and refine my system. I can't recommend the course enough to anyone looking to level up their approach to managing the ever-increasing flow of information…"
Closed
Doug von Kohorn
Software Engineer, ConsenSys
New York, NY
 
"In the two months since starting, I've produced three blog posts, planned three backpacking trips, decluttered my room, created an enterprise workshop, and got admitted into a developer conference. All using the *SAME* system! I'm living the PARA lifestyle now, and I'm never going back. This way lies not just productivity, but happiness and ease of mind...I started with no experience with GTD. I didn't understand constraints. I never used a note-taking tool...Take this course to start to feel agency in the world of infinite information and filter failure!"
Dawn Williams
Consulting Group, Robert Half Management Resources

San Francisco, CA

"High value knowledge work requires high quality knowledge resources: abundant working knowledge capital, a reliable knowledge infrastructure, knowledge liquidity, and a differentiating knowledge value proposition, all coherently leveraged to provide a competitive advantage.  Building a Second Brain has transformed my relationship to, and understanding of, personal knowledge capture and retention. The value to my business is significant; the value to me personally - immeasurable."
Moritz Bierling
Blockchain Reporter, Neufund
Berlin, Germany
 
"Everybody knows that having a productivity system can massively boost your success, but barely anyone even recognizes their own need for approaching their own creative process in an equally systematic way. My work, like any other knowledge professional, depends massively on my ability to constantly learn new things and use them in creative ways. BASB has completely killed my FOMO; what's more, I am able to put together a presentation in a matter of minutes instead of days, which has opened up so many opportunities."
Jimmy Conway
Principal, Free Flow Partners
Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
 
"Imagine being able to recall all the really interesting things you've ever read, seen and done. How good would that be? Any problem, any piece of creative work boosted with a library of relevant material right there at your fingertips. That's powerful. Well this course helps you do just that. It's fast paced, expertly taught and full of examples, exercises and discussion that help you organise all the really interesting, useful stuff in your life into a system that allows easy access. I wish I had done it years ago."

Results

Graduates report an average 84% improvement 
in their "overall note-taking system and approach"

Week 5
August 14 | Unit 8: The Big Picture

August 21 | Final debrief (1pm Pacific time)

Listen to Tiago's interview on the official Evernote podcast, Take Note:

Version 3.0 | July 17 - August 21

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