Second Brain Method

16 Best Second Brain Note Taking Apps

Organize your thoughts and ideas with ease using the best second brain note taking apps. Find the perfect app to level up your productivity now!

Apr 26, 2024

Second Brain Method

16 Best Second Brain Note Taking Apps

Organize your thoughts and ideas with ease using the best second brain note taking apps. Find the perfect app to level up your productivity now!

Apr 26, 2024

Second Brain Method

16 Best Second Brain Note Taking Apps

Organize your thoughts and ideas with ease using the best second brain note taking apps. Find the perfect app to level up your productivity now!

Apr 26, 2024

woman wondering about Second Brain Note Taking
woman wondering about Second Brain Note Taking
woman wondering about Second Brain Note Taking

Say goodbye to scattered notes and hello to a streamlined approach that will revolutionize the way you manage information. Let's dive into the world of Second Brain Method of note taking and explore the endless possibilities it offers for personal and professional growth. Let's get started!

Table of Contents

What Is A Second Brain?

power of a second brain - Second Brain Note Taking

A "Second Brain" refers to a system for consuming and interacting with information, specifically concepts and ideas that matter to an individual. This system is designed to help individuals learn from diverse sources, distill insights, and synthesize new ideas. It is a subset of personal knowledge management (PKM) and focuses on the consumption and interaction with information rather than tasks, goals, and plans.

Unlocking the Power of Your Second Brain

In the context of note-taking and knowledge management, a "Second Brain" refers to a digital system or framework that serves as an extension of our biological brain. It acts as a repository for capturing, organizing, and synthesizing information from various sources, allowing us to augment our memory, creativity, and productivity. Unlike our biological brain, which is prone to forgetfulness and cognitive limitations, a Second Brain provides a reliable and scalable solution for storing and accessing knowledge on demand.

The Origin of the Second Brain Concept

Tiago Forte introduced the second brain concept first in his book “Building a Second Brain.” He reasons that humans can’t always remember every piece of daily information, as it can get overwhelming.

Related Reading

Personal Knowledge Management System
Personal Knowledge Base
Building A Second Brain Summary
Personal Knowledge Management

Principles Of Second Brain Note Taking

woman making notes - Second Brain Note Taking

Second Brain note-taking is guided by several core principles aimed at maximizing efficiency, organization, and comprehension


The process of capturing information from different sources such as books, articles, lectures, and personal observations. This involves extracting key insights, ideas, and snippets of text or multimedia content for future reference.


Once information is captured, it needs to be organized in a systematic manner to facilitate easy retrieval and connections. This may involve categorizing notes into relevant topics, tagging them with keywords, and structuring them within a hierarchical framework.


Making connections between related pieces of information to create a web of knowledge that fosters deeper understanding and insight. This can involve linking notes together through cross-referencing, creating networks of related concepts, and identifying patterns or relationships.


The ability to quickly and efficiently retrieve relevant information when needed is essential for effective note-taking. A well-organized Second Brain enables users to search, filter, and access notes with ease, ensuring that valuable knowledge is always at their fingertips.

Let Otio be your AI research and writing partner — try Otio for free today!

Related Reading

Second Brain Note Taking
Second Brain Examples
Building A Second Brain Notion
Second Brain Notion Template
Obsidian Alternatives
Notion Second Brain
Notedly Ai
Building A Second Brain
Evernote Alternatives
Milanote Alternative
Obsidian Second Brain
Second Brain Apps
Roam Research Vs Obsidian

Benefits Of Building A Second Brain

using an app for Second Brain Note Taking

Improved Learning Efficiency

The structured organization of information enables quicker access and review, optimizing the learning process. The ability to distill and summarise key points enhances comprehension and retention

Enhanced Productivity

With a well-organized Second Brain, you can quickly locate and utilize relevant information, saving time and effort. Streamlined workflows and efficient task management contribute to increased productivity

Fostered Creativity

Connecting ideas and concepts from different sources within your Second Brain generates unique insights and fosters serendipitous discoveries and novel connections, leading to innovative thinking

Consistently move projects and goals to completion

By organizing your knowledge outside your head, you free yourself to execute more effectively in the moment, accomplishing your goals at a steady clip and unleashing your creative confidence

Establish a creative process

A Second Brain is the home of your creative process, a series of habits and routines for consistently publishing your work to the world, without overthinking it or being too perfectionistic

Transform personal knowledge into income and opportunities

By publishing your knowledge in small bits online, it is easier than ever to find an audience, gain a following, and even create new income streams. This can be a business or a hobby, providing countless new opportunities and career options

Enhance thinking and uncover unexpected patterns and connections between ideas

A Second Brain helps you recognize larger patterns in what is happening, allowing you to see trends that no one else sees and recognize connections between ideas

16 Best Second Brain Note Taking Apps

woman on app store looking for Second Brain Note Taking

1. Otio

Knowledge workers, researchers, and students today suffer from content overload and are left to deal with it using fragmented, complex, and manual tooling. Too many of them settle for stitching together complicated bookmarking, read-it-later, and note-taking apps to get through their workflows. Now that anyone can create content with the click of a button - this problem is only going to get worse. 

Otio solves this problem by providing one AI-native workspace for researchers. It helps them:

1. Collect

a wide range of data sources, from bookmarks, tweets, and extensive books to YouTube videos. 

2. Extract key takeaways

with detailed AI-generated notes and source-grounded Q&A chat

3. Create

draft outputs using the sources you've collected. Otio helps you to go from reading list to first draft faster

Along with this, Otio also helps you write research papers/essays faster. Here are our top features that are loved by researchers: AI-generated notes on all bookmarks (YouTube videos, PDFs, articles, etc.), Otio enables you to chat with individual links or entire knowledge bases, just like you chat with ChatGPT, as well as AI-assisted writing. 

Let Otio be your AI research and writing partner — try Otio for free today!

2. Notion

Notion stands out with its highly customizable interface, allowing users to create databases, custom pages, and covers tailored to their specific needs. It supports the PARA method for organization, ensuring efficient management of projects, areas, resources, and archives. Notion integrates a Q&A AI feature, facilitating information retrieval and enhancing productivity within the platform.

3. Evernote

As a traditional note-taking app, Evernote offers a comprehensive suite of annotation features and supports various media types such as documents, images, and audio recordings. It embraces the PARA concept for organizing notes, enabling users to categorize and search for information effortlessly. Evernote's AI-powered search enhances user experience by providing accurate and relevant results.

4. Obsidian

Obsidian differentiates itself by focusing on networked thought, allowing users to create a personal wiki, flashcards, and visualize data in a graph format. Its emphasis on bidirectional linking enables seamless navigation between related concepts, fostering deeper understanding and exploration of interconnected ideas.

5. Amplenote

Amplenote provides a holistic approach to note-taking, supporting the PARA method while integrating task management features and customizable pages. This versatility allows users to seamlessly transition between organizing notes and executing tasks within the same platform, enhancing productivity and workflow efficiency.

6. Heptabase

Heptabase offers a straightforward note-taking experience complemented by features like task management and custom pages. Its user-friendly interface and intuitive design make it a suitable choice for users seeking simplicity and ease of use in managing their digital content.

7. Workflowy

Workflowy's minimalist design and nested bullet point format make it an ideal tool for creating structured outlines and lists. While embracing the PARA concept for organization, Workflowy excels in providing a clutter-free workspace, allowing users to focus on content creation and organization without distractions.

8. Capacities

Capacities prioritizes flexibility and adaptability, supporting the PARA method while offering task management features and customizable pages. Its collaborative capabilities make it suitable for teams and individuals alike, facilitating seamless communication and coordination of tasks and projects.

9. Mem

Mem emphasizes creativity and expression, offering tools for distilling and visualizing new ideas. Its focus on mind maps, concept maps, and visual thinking tools fosters innovation and ideation, enabling users to explore and communicate complex concepts effectively.

10. Logseq

As an open-source alternative to Obsidian, Logseq provides a flexible platform for knowledge management and note-taking. With features like task management and flashcards, Logseq empowers users to organize and retrieve information efficiently, supporting lifelong learning and personal growth.

11. Joplin

Joplin distinguishes itself with its focus on privacy and security, offering end-to-end encryption and syncing capabilities with cloud providers. While supporting task management and web clipping, Joplin ensures data integrity and accessibility across devices, catering to users' privacy concerns.

12. Trilium Notes

Trilium Notes offers a no-nonsense approach to note-taking, focusing on building a personal knowledge base through structured journaling and linking associated thoughts. Its customizable interface and linking capabilities facilitate the creation of interconnected notes, enhancing knowledge retention and organization.

13. AppFlowy

AppFlowy provides a lightweight and customizable solution for organizing notes and tasks, supporting the PARA method while offering task management features. Its simplicity and versatility make it suitable for users seeking a minimalist approach to digital organization.

14. Roam Research

Roam Research revolutionizes note-taking with its emphasis on networked thought, enabling users to create a web of interconnected notes and ideas. Its bidirectional linking and graph view features promote exploration and discovery, fostering creativity and insight.

15. Tana

Tana bridges the gap between traditional note-taking and networked thought, offering a hybrid approach to organization and structure. Its flexible interface and linking capabilities cater to users seeking a balance between organization and exploration in managing their digital content.

16. Craft

Craft prioritizes creativity and expression, offering tools for distilling and visualizing new ideas. With features like mind maps and visual tools, Craft empowers users to brainstorm and conceptualize effectively, enhancing collaboration and innovation.

What Should You Look For In A Second Brain App?

woman wondering about Second Brain Note Taking


A well-designed second-brain app should be available anytime on any device or platform

A good second-brain app should be accessible from any device, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Seamless integration across platforms ensures that users can access their notes from anywhere with an internet connection. 

This feature is critical for users who want to take notes on their smartphones when they’re away from their desks and later revise them on their laptops. The flexibility of being able to switch between devices can significantly boost productivity and efficiency

Structure and flexibility

You should be able to easily modify the app’s note interface to different functions, formats, and styles. Classifying notes should be flexible with folders, tags, notebooks, etc..

A good second-brain app should enable users to customize the note interface according to their preferences. Users should be able to modify fonts and styles, add photos and videos, and integrate different functions like calendars, to-do lists, and reminders. This customization potential allows users to feel a sense of ownership over their notes, making the second-brain system more personal and more likely to be used consistently. 


A well-designed second brain note-taking app allows you to share your notes with others easily. Functions like editing and commenting improve teamwork, collaboration, and general productivity.

Sharing notes with others is one of the most important aspects of a second-brain app. A good second-brain app should incorporate sharing features that allow users to send their notes to other individuals, groups, or teams easily. These features should also enable recipients to edit, add comments, and suggest changes in real-time. This collaboration potential makes teamwork easier, improves productivity, and streamlines communication among team members.

Getting Started: Tips For Building A Second Brain

tips and ideas for Second Brain Note Taking

Selecting the right digital note-taking tool is crucial to align with your preferences and workflow. Finding a platform that offers the features you need can make all the difference. Once you've selected your tool, spend time customizing it to your liking, setting up organizational frameworks such as folders, tags, or categories for efficient content organization.

Establishing Organizational Frameworks

Creating clear organizational frameworks within your note-taking system helps streamline content organization. Whether you follow the PARA method or devise your own system, having consistent naming conventions, tagging strategies, and folder structures can help keep your digital workspace orderly and focused.

Consistency and Discipline

Developing a habit of regular note-taking and review is essential for an effective Second Brain system. Dedicate time each day or week to capture new insights, ideas, and information. Being consistent will help you build a comprehensive knowledge repository and maximize the benefits of your Second Brain over time.

Capturing and Reviewing Notes Regularly

Capture notes across different contexts, from work to personal pursuits. Actively record insights, ideas, and observations in your note-taking system. Schedule regular review sessions to reflect on your notes, reinforcing learning and retention while identifying connections and patterns between pieces of information.

Experimenting with Tools and Techniques

Embrace experimentation as you explore various tools, techniques, and methodologies in Second Brain note-taking. Don't hesitate to try new apps, features, or organizational strategies to find what works best for you. Stay open to adapting and refining your approach based on feedback and insights gained from your experimentation.

Supercharge Your Researching Ability With Otio — Try Otio for Free Today

Otio is a game-changer for researchers and knowledge workers struggling with content overload. With the proliferation of digital content, it has become increasingly challenging to keep track of information and synthesize it effectively. 

Otio provides a single AI-native workspace that simplifies the research process. It streamlines the collection, extraction, and creation of knowledge, enabling users to move seamlessly from data sourcing to drafting outputs. Let’s explore how Otio revolutionizes the research and writing experience for content creators. 

Collect a Wide Range of Data Sources with Otio

Otio allows users to aggregate data from diverse sources, including bookmarks, tweets, books, and YouTube videos. By consolidating this information within a single interface, researchers can streamline their research process and access all relevant sources from a centralized location. 

Otio simplifies content collection, ensuring that users can easily retrieve the material they need for their projects. This feature is particularly useful for individuals who rely on multiple platforms to store their research materials, as Otio facilitates data consolidation and organization. 

Extract Key Takeaways with AI-generated Notes

After collecting data, Otio employs artificial intelligence to generate detailed notes that extract key insights from the sources. These summaries help users distill complex information into digestible points, enabling them to grasp the essence of each source quickly. 

By automating the note-taking process, Otio reduces the time researchers spend summarizing content and allows them to focus on analyzing the material. This feature is especially valuable for individuals who need to process large volumes of information efficiently. 

Chat with Links and Knowledge Bases

Otio enables users to engage with individual links or entire knowledge bases through a chat interface. This functionality mimics the conversational style of interacting with ChatGPT, offering a unique platform for discussing ideas and seeking clarification on research materials. 

By facilitating communication within the workspace, Otio enhances collaboration and knowledge sharing among users. This feature is particularly beneficial for research teams working on complex projects that require ongoing coordination and information exchange. 

Accelerate Writing with AI Assistance

In addition to facilitating the research process, Otio supports users in writing research papers and essays faster. By assisting with AI-generated notes and source-grounded Q&A chat, Otio helps individuals transform their reading lists into coherent drafts more efficiently. 

This feature streamlines the writing process and empowers users to generate high-quality content rapidly. Otio’s AI assistance is particularly valuable for writers who need to produce well-researched and structured documents within tight deadlines. 

Try Otio Today!

Otio’s innovative features are designed to empower knowledge workers and researchers to overcome content overload and enhance their productivity. By providing a comprehensive AI-native workspace, Otio simplifies the research process, accelerates writing, and fosters collaboration among users. 

Try Otio for free today and experience the benefits of having an intelligent research and writing partner by your side.

Related Reading

Personal Knowledge Management Software
Capacities Note Taking
Logseq Alternatives
Workflowy Alternatives
Roam Research Alternative
Roam Research Vs Notion
Apple Notes Second Brain
Reflect Note Taking
Reflect App Review
Heptabase Vs Obsidian Alternatives
Heptabase Vs Scrintal
• Tana Pkm
• Mymind Alternative

Join thousands of other scholars and researchers

Join thousands of other scholars and researchers

Join thousands of other scholars and researchers