The Modern Swipe File

15 Unexpected Uses for Digital Notes

Nick Morrison / Unsplash

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “What should I save in my digital notes?”

My typical answers include “highlights from books,” “website bookmarks,” and “social media favorites.” Those are the bread and butter of online content.

But they are also just the very tip of the iceberg.

There is a whole universe of kinds of information that are worth saving in what I call your “Second Brain” – a system of knowledge management that lives outside your head and helps you keep track of your most valuable knowledge. Once you start getting comfortable with the idea that you can store knowledge indefinitely in a reliable place, you will begin to see everything around you as potentially useful information.

In this case study, I’ll share 15 unexpected uses for digital notes, including concrete examples I’ve saved in my Second Brain to give you a taste of the stunning range and diversity of information worth saving. I’ll explain what I was thinking when I captured each one, how I might use it in the future, and include a link to the original notes.

Here’s the list:

  1. Marketing assets
  2. Mementos and keepsakes
  3. Troubleshooting steps
  4. How-to checklists
  5. Ideas for content
  6. Favorite resources
  7. Repurposed content
  8. Call/meeting notes
  9. Brainstorms
  10. Models or examples to follow
  11. Everyday observations
  12. Notes from courses
  13. Research findings
  14. Guidelines and procedures
  15. Project plans

1. Marketing assets

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