Do you want your second brain to function the same as your first brain?

Effective Faith
5 min readJul 19

If we have even a passing relationship with productivity and time management then we will know about David Allen and his book “Getting things done”. (For my thoughts on GTD for today — check out this post) I heard someone refer to this book recently as the productivity Bible and David Allen as the grandfather of personal productivity. It isn’t really wrong to consider his work as one of the earliest attempts to help normal people get a handle on all of their time and commitments. David Allen’s most famous quote is perhaps “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” It is this quote that has been the birth of the idea of Building a Second Brain. This would be the brain that is designed to hold our ideas. And so I ask the question — Do we want our second brain to function in the same way as our first brain?

Let me put it bluntly. I want my first brain — the one that sits inside my head — to be the brain that is designed for and set apart for having ideas and my second brain — the one that sits inside my apps — to be the one that is set apart for holding them.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of knowledge management apps on the market today. Those that base themselves around a hierarchical structure and search and those that base themselves around networked thought.

The basic idea behind networked thought apps, like Obsidian, Roam Research and Mem X is that these apps will create a network of ideas for you and will create links between notes and thoughts and ideas leading the generation of new ideas and new combinations of ideas organically as we work.

Tools such as Mem X that bring AI into the mix here, are incredibly powerful at this.

However, with great power comes great responsibility.

And apps do not have this sense of responsibility.

You see, the brain inside our head is specifically designed for pattern recognition, making links and spotting links. In fact, the reason we have a memory at all is to aid this process of making links and spotting patterns. This design serves us very well but it can also be a source of distraction. I cannot spell out the word beautiful without hearing the voice of Ace Ventura and then going off down a…

Effective Faith

How to live effectively as a Christian in the 21st Century