Monday, September 3, 2018

Tips to Capture more often with TheBrain, Procedures in TheBrain 9

Use It or Lose It

Like many practices, tools, or caches of knowledge ones skill with TheBrain software will increase or decrease with deliberate use. [For more information on "Deliberate Practice" see Talent is Overrated by Geoffery Colvin. A book that will be reviewed at a later time].  But sometimes, just a few tips or tricks that allow you to use a practice, tool, or knowledge base more often is needed to help give you that push.  This article is intended to help with that very subject.

For those short on time the list is as follows:
  • Use the mobile apps
  • Use tags to mark entries that need to be cleaned up later
  • Create a "Random & Unsorted" thought to quickly add thoughts to

Use the Mobile Apps

With apps for iOS and Android users of TheBrain 9 Pro Service,  Pro Combo, or TeamBrain can use the mobile apps to sync back to TheBrain Cloud Services an thus, back to any desktop applications you might be using.

This means thoughts and ideas can be added or extended from anywhere.  With the latest versions of the mobile apps supporting automated sync, the use of the mobile apps becomes more and more advisable.

I myself have used apps on my phone and tablet in every mode of transportation, while walking, even between meetings when an idea strikes me.


Well thought out Thought Tags can help to ensure that you are not just throwing information into a never-ending pit.  Sure, if you just record thoughts and never clean them up, you might be able to search out the small morsel of information you were looking for, but that is not the purpose of TheBrain software.  There will be no relevant links to help you draw a bigger picture. You will not have had a second exposure to the information to strengthen your unaided knowledge and understanding.  Getting in the habit of using tags, like these, will minimize the number of underdeveloped thoughts in your Brain.

I use the following three "quick tags" to help me enter data fast without worrying that I am throwing data down a hole:
  • _Cleanup - Data Dump
  • _Cleanup - Mobile Entry
  • _ToDo
It should be noted that all of them start with an underscore "_" to ensure that they are sorted to the top.  This makes them fast and easy to select when using from a phone or tablet as mentioned in the prior section.  The ease of use should be simple to see in the image below:

_Cleanup - Data Dump

Sometimes you have access to a bunch of data on a Thought, and you just need to paste it and run.  Rather than risking coming across this information weeks or months later using this tag can give you an opportunity to go back in your downtime and clean the data up.  I do this as part of my weekly review as inspired by the GTD process.

_Cleanup - Mobile Entry

As of this article, the mobile apps are limited in many of the things they can do.  Links cannot be labeled or typed. Attachments can be challenging to accomplish.  Horizontal Rules cannot be added.  Though these features may make their way to the mobile versions, it will most likely still be faster to do much of this from a desktop application for some time.  As such, a "_Cleanup - Mobile Entry" gives a clear indication of the need and the reason for the required cleanup.


I use this one in all forms of TheBrain UI's - phone, tablet, and desktop.  This allows me to know that I need to pull more data, link a wiki page, get input from a customer or colleague. Having this tag enables me to "close a loop", GTD again, and focus on my thought flow rather than getting everything perfect the first time.

I pare all of the tags above with software engineering style notes:

//* ToDo: note link all thoughts underlined above *//

This allows me to quickly find them in the Notes section of a Thought.

Random & Unsorted

I often come by random pieces of information that I just want to save, am not sure where it should be initially attached to, or can't find the parent thought or thoughts I would most like to connect the information to.  This is where the "Random & Unsorted" thought and Thought Pin comes into play.

Create a thought called "Random & Unsorted."  I have created mine directly off of TheBrain's "Home Thought."  Then you can pin the thought by right clicking on "Random & Unsorted" and select "Create Pin" from the popup menu.

Once created and pined you know have a quick natural place to "catch" all of the little things that will help build depth into your brain.

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