Happy Friday, my fellow lovers of knowledge!
This week I want to provoke your thinking about your knowledge stack. No matter if you call it a PKM system, second brain, or just your stack, what matters is that you are aware of its foundational blocks and how they interact.
You can use the best highlighters, spaced repetition systems, and note-taking tools out there, but they're not going to make you a better learner if you use them wrong.
To learn (and by extension do knowledge work) effectively, you first need to have the foundation right. Like when is the best time to review your flashcards? Or how to write the right flashcard questions? And what is a "good" note anyway? That's what I want us to talk about.
But it's not all meta. I've also dug up some useful resources to help you learn networked thinking using LogSeq, automate workflows using Siri Shortcuts, see a simple writing flow for those of us who are messy, and I link to a new integration service for Roam.
Let's deconstruct the meta-skill of learning how to learn
What do you need to learn fast and remember well? That depends on many factors, but knowing how you learn is a crucial first step.
In this live session on Wednesday, November 24th, we'll workshop the foundational blocks of the meta-skill of learning how to learn. You probably already have a collection of tools to learn new skills—even if you don't use them to learn. In this session, we'll have a look which ones you can stack to guide your attention and remember more.
Apart from software tools, we'll also be diving into some mental tools. We'll discuss why practices like cramming, rereading, and highlighting are ineffective, and why counterintuitive approaches like forgetting and daydreaming work much better.
Learn how to choose your next skill
On Tuesday, I guided a group of 15 learning enthusiast through a simple but effective framework to align our vision, responsibilities, and skills. I showed how by starting from a long-term vision, you can spot the skills you need to make that vision a reality.
Couldn't make it live? RoamStack members can find the recording, notes, and resources here.
How to learn networked thinking
When I first discovered Roam Research, I wish someone had showed me what networked thinking means in practice. Instead, I got bombarded with videos and articles about individual functions, with no word about how to make complex workflows using them.
If you're new to the world of networked thinking and just got started to use a tool like Roam, LogSeq, or Obsidian, I recommend you watch the video below. In it, Dario AKA OneStutteringMind onboards a journalist friend onto LogSeq. They dive into how indentation and links affect what you can search for, if you should have one or multiple graphs, Maps of Content, and much more.
Automated input with Siri Shortcuts and Roam-bot
Via TfT Hacker I stumbled upon two super useful resources.
The first one the free Beginner's Guide to Siri Shortcuts by Tech Craft. If you want to program your own workflows to fill your second brain from your iPhone, you cannot ignore this 6-part series.
The second resource is the new Roam-bot service by Francois-Guillaume Ribreau. In some ways similar to Phone to Roam, Roam-bot offers a deep integration with your graph via Zapier. Current recipes are for creating blocks on the Daily Notes Page or pages you define. In the future it'll also be possible to update blocks, get their content, and run complex datalog queries on a Roam graph from other apps.
The wetware of writing and doing
Via Tools for Thought Rocks I stumbled upon Rosano. He's a programmer who creates his own apps to solve common PKM challenges like capturing information, learning using flashcards, and journaling. Or, as he puts it, to solve for his 'trinity': capture everything, organize if needed, and purge (either do it or get rid of it).
I recommend you watch the video below to learn a thing or two for your own system—whether it runs in Roam, Obsidian, or another tool. And while Rosano's apps are awesome and free to use, don't go and switch immediately.
Try to think how you can use the principles to reduce friction in you workflows and emulate them in your own second brain.