I used to see note-taking as a mundane and routine task. But recent events have made me realise just how much I underestimated its value. As I reflected on my notes from school, university, and my professional career, I realised I had missed a trick. My notes were mainly verbatim and excessively long, designed for short-term use only. They served their purpose for studying for an exam or completing a project, but beyond that, I would never meaningfully use them again. I lacked an organised system and failed to recognize their long-term and strategic significance. So, what led to this wake-up call?
Building a Second Brain
Firstly, Tiago Forte’s book, “Building a Second Brain,” played a pivotal role. After seeing mentions of the “second brain” concept reappear on my various feeds, I finally got around to reading it a few months ago. Tiago’s simple but practical concepts of organising your notes for actionability and using progressive summarisation have completely changed the way I organise and use information. I went on to take the BASB cohort course to get some accountability on implementing these concepts with an engaged community.
AI-powered Meeting Notes
Secondly, I recently started contracting for Nyota.ai, an early-stage AI startup focused on meeting notes and collaboration. I used to rely on Otter.ai for meeting transcripts, but it started to become a time-consuming task. I tried six other AI meeting solutions, but they also all fell short of what I was looking for. They only titled sections of the meeting transcript and highlighted keywords, leaving me to mentally process the entire meeting again. My luck changed when I met Nyota’s founder at a networking event. Their incredible engineering team has built a system that intelligently transforms your meeting transcript into actionable notes, just like a pro human note-taker would. This means I can skip the tedious transcript parsing and dive straight into higher-level thinking.
Newly-equipped with better note-taking methods and tools, I’ve embarked on a journey to integrate note-taking into the heart of my workflow to unlock its true potential. Here are a few steps I’ve taken so far:
- Took the Building a Second Brain Cohort course to level up my note-taking game. Implementing the PARA system across my Notion workspace, Apple Notes, and Google Drive has been an absolute game-changer.
- Embraced the power of Nyota.ai in the majority of my calls. Those AI-generated meeting notes have become my secret weapon for diving straight into the next phase of work, rather than retracing my own steps. Not to mention how impressed everyone is with my automatic follow-ups.
- Created a Notion database to store all my meeting notes. This nifty trick helps me review, link, and share them with others more efficiently.
- Started to use my conversations as the foundation of my blog content that I’ve been putting off for years. My Nyota notes are helping me overcome writer’s block. No more staring at a blank page! My organic conversations make for a much better starting point.
This is the first blog post in a series that will document my efforts and experiments in using note-taking to improve my productivity, deliver projects and accomplish my writing and passion project goals. If you’d like to join me in this experiment, please get in touch! I’m interested in comparing notes with anyone interested in leveraging AI tools and optimising their personal knowledge management systems.