Building a Second Brain in Notion

Let's start with the conclusion that Notion is perfect for building digital notes based on the theory of the second brain.
Notion is heat in digital taking software. It is highly customizable and you can build your own database in the notes page to implement a lot of automated features. It seems like everyone is talking about and trying to use Notion now.

second brain is a way to manage a body of knowledge, using digital note-taking software for personal knowledge management. In this article you will learn how to build a second brain using the famous 'PARA' method, Projects, Areas of Responsibility, Resources, Archives.

Building a second brain in Notion is a very simple and efficient task, and you have two options. You can design the layout of the page yourself, but if you're a bit lazy, it's great to use a Notion template that someone else shared online and you can just click on the duplex and take it for yourself, right?

But before we take a shortcut, I'll walk you through how to set up a second brain layout in Notion step by step.

Notion Page Setup For Building A Second Brain

In this section we focus on Notion page setup, where we will build the basic structure of your second brain. The main thing we do here is layout, dividing the notes according to different categories.

Notion Page Setup For Building A Second Brain- PARA

Para is the answer to the core question of building second brain notes: How do I organize all my notes so that I can find what I need when I need it?

So we're going to divide Notion notes into four sections - Projects, Areas of Responsibility, Resources, Archives. It's structured to provide the most actionable information on the top items, and at the bottom, in the archives, you need less used long-lived information.

1. Create Project page

Projects have a fixed deadline goal or outcome and may require multiple work sessions. Examples of projects include organizing a birthday party, conducting a sales presentation, writing an article or blog post, or preparing a product launch.

Within a project, you can create the individual tasks needed to complete that task. The project area is a part of your life for which you have some role or responsibility, and there is no fixed end date.

2. Create an Areas of Responsibility page

Examples of domains are Productivity, Health, Travel, and Finance. These are very different from projects because they never really end. You will always need to track your finances and take care of your health.

An area may have one or more projects. For example, a project within the financial area might be filing my taxes for the year. A project in the Health area might be a 30-day smoothie diet.

3. Create a Resources page

The Resources page is for content that interests you and can be recycled and used in projects or easily shared with colleagues or friends. This includes recipes, interviews and user research, templates, PDFs, charts, slideshows, books and more!

My journal is a resource. All of my books sound like a resource. Psychology notes in notes. Rebuilding my website as a project. Turning meeting notes into notes. Self-Love Guide - this could be a resource. How to code in JavaScript notes - this might also appear in notes.

4. Create Archives page

A final thing archive contains completed projects or inactive things, such as completed events, inactive side projects, past client projects, and things that have not yet been homed.

If you're not sure which category your notes fall into, then we'll put them in the archive for you to sort through later. I know this sounds like a bit of a high risk, like putting an envelope full of money in a locked mailbox. You'll never be able to get it out again. But don't stress, Para is a dynamic system, which means that anything that lives in a resource may turn out to be useful someday.

5. Build the web capture page

Notion Web Clipper from the Chrome plugin

For the capture module, we are exploring the capture habit, which is the core principle of building a second brain. We recommend that you use the Notion Web Clipper from the Chrome Online Store.

To put the principles of capture habits into practice, we will install Notion Web Clipper as your first tool and describe how to use it to capture information and save it to the Knowledge Center database. If you are already familiar with the Concept Web Clipper.

Once you have chrome installed, go to the notion Web Clipper page in the Chrome Web Store and install it. Now that you have it installed, search for interesting articles or blog posts that you want to read later. I wanted to know how to talk to dolphins, so I found this article on doggo news, and now I have the notion webcrafter and I can save it to my notion workspace by clicking on the shortcut in chrome. I have to choose what I want to add it to the table and the database.

Capturing is the first stage about entering information. Why do we make capturing things a habit? Well, our brains are amazing at generating a constant stream of thoughts and ideas. As anyone knows, it's very generative, but retaining information is a bit difficult.

Whenever we interact with an idea or information that we find inspiring, surprising, useful or personal, we want to capture that idea as quickly as possible because our brains don't hold onto it for very long. When setting up your second brain, it is important to consider which capture tools you will use to bring back the highlights and parts of the content you read, watch and listen to to the concept. Your capture tools open up a portal knowledge management system for your personal information. As such, your capture tools will greatly influence the quality, frequency and relevance of the information you interact with in your second brain.

As the saying goes, you eat what you eat, and so does your information diet because it is intended for your body's diet.

6. Create a Home page

You should create a home page, or main page, or dashboard, whatever it's called, if you know what I mean, in Notion. You need to have a place where all the information is aggregated in one place.

A place where you can visualize at a glance the basic information you need to help you move the area toward your goal. It's like sitting in the driver's seat of a car, with all the buttons, lights, and controls you need at your fingertips. Sometimes you may want to share the area page with collaborators.

Another way the contextual dashboard can be useful is to use the Notion invitation feature so that team members can have a shared hub that they can work from. It is structured somewhat like a mini-site, allowing you to share all the resources and notes for an area. If you are asked to provide an overview of what your experience has done in that area or what you have done in that area, creating this nicely decorated contextual dashboard on the area page might include a description of your experience in that area and links to all your useful resources.

Core Methods and Practices for Using Notion

The real power lies in guiding and linking all your notes, methods, templates, and insights into your projects. By doing so, your years of experience and learning become actionable because it is linked to real-world meaningful results and impact.

Another powerful way we increase the discoverability of our notes is when we maintain and take responsibility for them as we relate them to parts of our ongoing lives. If we add discoverability, then hopefully we can serve our future selves. If we use the old paradigm of sorting notes by topic or type, then we may never consider using that information again because it never points to meaningful results or accountability for errors.

1. Use a dynamic database to manage your notes

All pages in PARA should be built using a dynamic database. There are many benefits to doing so.

Create connections across databases using relational database column types. This allows us to create connections between our projects, areas, resources, and archives. Okay, so you should have this list of projects in your project database and a list of areas of responsibility in your region database.

Each of these databases uses a more advanced conceptual feature called a self-referencing database to filter comments that are only associated with the name of the region. To see how the self-referencing database works, I left a link to the official documentation for notion to see it, because now it shows up here every time I want to associate a new Knowledge Center source, project resource, or annotation with that region. So I only see those annotations associated with this particular area.

They help you visualize which items, resources and notes are relevant to the key areas of your life. If I go to an area page, you'll see that it shows me all of these things at a glance. Over time, using backlinks and relationships between knowledge centers, projects, resources, and notes as you make connections, you can see at a glance how much work you've taken on in different parts of your life and how your knowledge, resources, and notes have grown in that area as you've experienced it.

2. Organize and review your notes

In order to gain the most from your Notion notes, you shouldn't let them sit in a corner for years without being opened. Instead, go through your notes frequently.

this is a picture show how to remember, connect and Create in building a second brain

According to Tiago Forte's website, there are three main steps to building a second brain.

  • Part 1: Remember
  • Part 2: Connect
  • Part 3: Create

You have the need for a progressive approach to note taking.It is important to summarise your notes at various stages of time.Using your understanding, summarize the original notes into excerpts, then summarize the excerpts again.

This can be understood as a step-by-step condensation process, but you will need to incorporate your thinking about your knowledge in this process. This makes it easy for you to look at this content within seconds and determine if it is useful to your current task, i.e., if it creates a connection.

Creating is the process of exporting the content from your notes to create tangible results in the real world. It doesn't matter if it's a written piece, a website, a photo, a video or a live performance - all convey the knowledge we've gained from our experiences. Bringing something real, beautiful, meaningful into existence makes you feel rewarded.


Learn how all the major areas of para interact and work together. Building a second brain or personal knowledge management system can be a life-changing moment where you can feel a dramatic change in the way you tend to work on projects, and often many people notice a fundamental change in the way they process work and information. If you are keen to take things in and understand the key habits and processes of capturing, organizing, distilling and expressing.

Let us know about your experience building a second brain with Notion. Please share your thoughts with us.