Mastering Knowledge Organization: Building a Second Brain in Apple Notes Using PARA

Estimated read time 4 min read

Today, we’ll delve into the realm of knowledge organization, particularly within the confines of Apple Notes. The setup mirrors what I showcased earlier in Evernote, making Apple Notes an ideal platform for implementing the PARA methodology.

Similar to Evernote, Apple Notes exhibits a familiar interface, boasting a left sidebar featuring sections like projects, areas, resources, and archives. The ability to collapse these sections into four folders greatly enhances mobile accessibility and ease of use. As I navigate through these folders—be it into projects, personal areas, resources, or archives—I’m presented with a streamlined structure ideal for efficient note management.

The Projects folder houses individual folders corresponding to active projects. Take, for instance, the ‘AI Workshop’ folder. Here, I seamlessly transferred existing notes from various resources into Apple Notes, reflecting a direct one-to-one transition. Exploring its functionalities, I discovered the freedom to embed titles, links, and even images within these notes. Screenshots, seamlessly integrated into the note body, illustrate the platform’s versatility and user-friendly capabilities.

Apple Notes, unlike Evernote, substitutes an ‘Inbox’ with a default folder named ‘Notes,’ serving precisely as an inbox. Any unsorted notes will automatically land here, simplifying the process of sorting and managing incoming information. To illustrate the PARA system’s application within Apple Notes, I’ll present three types of content and demonstrate their systematic categorization. Beginning with content from an email—valuable insights from a coaching session—Apple Notes allows easy integration of attachments and relevant information into designated notes.

Moving to online articles, I demonstrate the process of copying and pasting paragraphs directly into notes, accompanied by embedded URLs for future reference. Lastly, social media content, such as intriguing articles, is seamlessly incorporated into notes, along with corresponding source links. During a weekly review, each note is meticulously scrutinized for relevance. Aligning them with projects, areas, or resources optimizes their practical utility. For instance, coaching session notes may find their place within the ‘Book Launch in Brazil’ project, enabling swift access and relevance during the launch event.

As for insights on cognitive function, the PARA system prompts a new ‘Parents’ folder creation under the ‘Areas’ section, showcasing the system’s adaptability in expanding content categories based on emerging needs. Similarly, content related to fusion energy finds its home in the ‘Climate Change’ resources folder, aligning with ongoing interests in environmental impacts.

This fluid process of content organization emphasizes simplicity and efficiency, streamlining information and enabling seamless access within the Apple Notes environment.

Step 1: Initial Setup

  1. Navigate the Interface: Apple Notes mirrors the setup similar to Evernote. Access the left sidebar displaying projects, areas, resources, and archives.
  2. Organize Folders: Collapse and streamline the sections into four folders for easy mobile access.

Step 2: Transferring Data

  1. Project Folders: Replicate your existing notes and titles into individual project folders. Directly copy and paste from Evernote to Apple Notes for a seamless transition.
  2. Customization: Personalize nodes with titles, links, and even images within the body of the notes. Embed screenshots to illustrate and enhance content.

Step 3: Content Categorization

  1. Utilize the ‘Notes’ Folder: Apple Notes defaults to a ‘Notes’ folder acting as an inbox for unsorted content.
  2. Capture Different Content Types:
    • Emails: Save valuable information from emails. Download attachments and create a new note, incorporating the downloaded content within.
    • Online Articles: Highlight and copy relevant paragraphs from articles. Create a new note, paste the content, and add the URL for future reference.
    • Social Media Content: Copy interesting text or articles from social media posts. Create a new note, paste the content, and attach the source link for future retrieval.

Step 4: Weekly Review and Organization

  1. Evaluate Relevance: During a weekly review, assess the relevance and utility of the accumulated notes.
  2. Align with Categories: Determine whether each note best fits a project, area, or resource category. Emphasize actionable and practical content.

Step 5: Note Categorization Examples

  1. Project Relevance: Place coaching session notes in the appropriate project folder, considering the immediate use—like improving speaking skills for the book launch in Brazil.
  2. Creating New Categories: Create a new ‘Parents’ folder under the ‘Areas’ section based on the emergence of responsibilities or concerns related to parental care.
  3. Mapping to Existing Categories: Identify content relevant to passing interests, like fusion energy, and allocate it to suitable existing resource folders, such as ‘Climate Change.’


Utilize Apple Notes to effortlessly organize and manage knowledge. Implementing the PARA methodology streamlines content, enabling quick access and relevance to various areas of your life and projects.

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