In this blog post I want to share with you my personal knowledge management (PKM) system. I will share with you the tools that I found really helpful, and I also want to share with you my philophy in PKM.

I will divide the post into three categories, which is the procedure that I take: (1) Picking stage (2) Processing stage (3) Producing stage.


Picking stage

In this stage, we want to gather all kinds of information from books, articles, podcasts (or audiobooks) and videos (they are the four types of content that we normally use). All of my notes are directly transferred to readwise, which I highly recommend everyone starts using this service. In below I will share how I transfer every notes I take on different platforms to readwise.

πŸ“š Books

I use kindle for reading. Some of the books are directly bought from Amazon, but some of them are downloaded from other websites (e.g. this) and transferred to my kindle.

Books from amazon: If the book is bought from amazon, all the highlights and notes can be directly transferred to readwise.

Books from other places: But if the book is downloaded somewhere or I get a digital copy from friend, then my notes on that book cannot be automatically synced. There is a file in your kindle named "xxx clippings.txt", where you can connect your kindle to your computer, then email this file to this email address: add@readwise.io (remember to use the email that you register readwise, otherwise it won't work). Also I use the iBook in my apple eco system to read more.

Physical Book: If it is a physical book that you are reading, you can take a picture of the page, and annotate that directly in readwise.

πŸ“ Articles

Now let's move to the articles that I have read.

There are three main sources that I accumulated about articles: (1) RSS feed (2) medium (3) random article I have found online (twitter or other platforms). For each one I use different apps.

RSS Feed: For scientific research (the latest publications), I use theoldreader. For blogs, articles and news from other websites, I use Reeder5.

Medium: Medium is great, there are tons of great articles on there, I think there maybe other similar platforms, but Medium is my favorite. Get a subscription there, and you will have unlimited access to all great articles.

Random Articles: For the articles other than Medium (which can be directly synced to readwise), I use instapaper for gathering (just share the article to instapaper and it is done), highlight and taking notes on my articles. And all those notes can be directly transferred to my readwise account.

πŸŽ™οΈ Podcasts and Audiobooks

For podcasts: The app that I have used for taking notes from podcast is: airr.io. It's a great app, and it is really easy to use, you can press the " button in the app, or if you are wearing a wireless headphone, then you can trible tap the play button, and once you have heared a "ding" sound, that means your clipping is stored. It usually stores about 45s (previous + later), so you may want to rewind a little bit to be more accurate (or you could do that later).

For audiobooks: I use audible for all my audiobooks, occasionally I listen to some audiobook on youtube (you need to have premiere youtube account, which is really cheap, it can help you listen your videos, which I have found really useful).

In audible, you can also do the clipping (around 30s), but there is no shortcut, you can only do that inside the audible app, which I have found pretty annoying.

πŸ“Ή Videos

I just found a really nice tool for taking notes while you are watching videos, it is called: Reclipped. Then you can connect your Reclipped account to readwise.


Processing stage

Now we have gathered all the information from books, articles, podcasts, audiobooks and videos, and by using various services, we can link them to readwise, which is our central hub for all the pieces of knowledge that we have gathered. The next step is to export those thoughts into a note-taking app. There are many choices on readwise that you can choose from: e.g. Roam Research, Notion, Evernote etc. My favortie note-taking app is Roam Research, so that's where I send all my highlights and notes.

Everyday in my daily notes, there will be a link about all my notes in readwise, as you can see in the figure below:

There are notes of the articles from Medium, airr and so on.

So every night before you go to sleep, you re-look all your highlights during the day, and make tags on them, organize them so that you can easily find them in the future. Do not try to put them in one category, try to think about "in what context I'm going to use that piece of information in the future?" and then make it that way so that you will be a great help for the future you.

Connect your notes with the random ideas that you have stored in the #idea tag, so that later when you want to write something, you already have plenty of information to organize. Do not do the repeated work.


Producing stage

When we read, listen or watch contents, we can get insights, ideas constantly. Write them down, and give them similar tag (e.g. #ideas), so that you can find them later.

When you want to write something (e.g. a blogpost, a video or maybe just a tweet), you always have enough inforamtion to look for. And you can no-longer start at a blank page.

Once you know how to gather information, process them and make them accessible for you when you need it. Your creating will because easier and easier, and you will start building your own system in personal knowledge management.


Conclusion

That's how I did it. The method may change in the future (then I need to go back to this blogpost and change some bit, but in general I think the tools and apps will stick for a while).

Hope this post is helpful for you.

Take care, I will see you in the next post.

Best,

Zhengda