PKM: How Creatives Are Hacking Their Brains

Use PKM to help organize your ideas and create more - spending less time trying to figure things out or get organized.


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You’re a creative soul, constantly buzzing with ideas. But let’s be real, keeping track of all those brilliant thoughts can be a nightmare. That’s where personal knowledge management (PKM) comes in – your secret weapon for unleashing your creative superpowers. Imagine having a system that captures, organizes, and connects your ideas effortlessly, freeing up your mind to focus on what really matters: creating magic.

PKM is your creative superpower

At its core, personal knowledge management (PKM) is all about capturing, organizing, and connecting your ideas. It’s a system that helps you wrangle those fleeting thoughts and turn them into something tangible and actionable.

PKM revolves around three key elements:

  • Capturing ideas as they strike
  • Organizing those ideas into a structured system
  • Connecting related concepts to spark new insights and inspiration

GOALS: Spend less time thinking about organizing and losing stuff–more time being creative

The ultimate goal of PKM is to free up your mental bandwidth. Instead of constantly worrying about where you jotted down that brilliant idea or how to make sense of your scattered notes, you can focus on what truly matters: creating.

Capture ideas…

Whether it’s a sudden burst of inspiration or a fleeting thought, PKM empowers you to capture those ideas before they slip away. No more relying on flimsy Post-it notes or scrambling to find that scrap of paper you scribbled on.

Organizing ideas…

Once you’ve captured your ideas, PKM helps you organize them into a cohesive system. Say goodbye to the chaos of scattered notes and hello to a structured, easily navigable knowledge base.

Connect ideas for inspiration (and to be able to FIND things)

But PKM isn’t just about capturing and organizing – it’s also about connecting related concepts. By linking ideas together, you can uncover new perspectives, spark creative breakthroughs, and find that elusive piece of information when you need it most.

You can even use PKM to help organize life for someone with ADHD… Check it out!

PKM tools for creative minds

Now that you understand the power of PKM, it’s time to explore the tools that can help you harness it. From digital note-taking apps to good old-fashioned pen and paper, there’s something for every creative mind.

The notes app you’re ALREADY using!

That’s right. Utilizing PKM strategies doesn’t mean you have to start with many fancy apps.

PKM is about building a system.

You can start by improving how you capture and connect ideas, even if you’re only using the built-in Apple Notes app or Google Docs.

Obsidian: build your knowledge web

Obsidian is a powerful note-taking and knowledge management tool that allows you to create a vast web of interconnected ideas. With its intuitive interface and robust linking capabilities, you can effortlessly connect related concepts and uncover new insights.

Roam: connect ideas effortlessly

Roam is a unique note-taking app that encourages you to connect your ideas in a non-linear fashion. Its innovative approach to organizing information makes it a favorite among creatives who thrive on making unexpected connections.

Notion: your all-in-one workspace

Notion is a versatile workspace that combines note-taking, task management, and collaboration tools into one sleek package. With its flexible structure and customizable templates, you can tailor Notion to fit your unique creative workflow.

Xmind: my favorite (free) mind-mapping tool

Sometimes, the best way to organize and connect your ideas is through visual representation. Xmind is a powerful (and free!) mind-mapping tool that allows you to create intricate diagrams and visualize your thought processes.

Pen (or paint) and paper!

I doodled this yesterday, and IMMEDIATELY used my scanner app to digitize it and add it to Obsidian (for later reference)

Of course, no discussion of PKM tools would be complete without mentioning the tried-and-true analog methods. There’s something deeply satisfying about putting pen (or paint) to paper and letting your ideas flow freely. And with apps like Scanner Pro, you can easily capture your analog creations and store them digitally for future reference.

Creative PKM workflows that, well, work

Now that you’ve got the tools, it’s time to implement them. Here are some tried-and-true PKM workflows to help unleash your creative potential.

Capture ideas on the go

Inspiration can strike any moment, whether you’re out for a walk or stuck in traffic. That’s why it’s crucial to have a system for capturing ideas on the go. Whether it’s a voice memo app, a digital note-taking tool, or a trusty pen and paper, find a method that works for you and make it a habit.

Build your second brain

Think of your PKM system as a second brain – a vast repository of knowledge and ideas you can tap into whenever needed. As you capture and organize your thoughts, you’re essentially building a personalized knowledge base that will serve as a wellspring of inspiration for years.

Remix and create magic

One of the most powerful aspects of PKM is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated ideas and create something entirely new. By exploring the links between different concepts in your knowledge base, you can uncover fresh perspectives and remix your ideas into innovative creations that truly stand out.

Big Picture…

Embracing personal knowledge management is a game-changer for creative minds. You can unleash a torrent of inspiration and creativity by capturing, organizing, and connecting your ideas. So why not give it a try? Experiment with different tools and workflows until you find the perfect system that works for you. Who knows – your next masterpiece might be just a few clicks (or pen strokes) away.


What if I’m not creative?

Creativity comes in many forms, and PKM can benefit anyone who deals with ideas and information regularly. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “creative type,” having a system to capture, organize, and connect your thoughts can boost productivity, clarity, and problem-solving abilities.

You can also see how PKM works across various other domains here.

How much time does PKM take?

The beauty of PKM is that it can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. While setting up a comprehensive system may require some initial effort, the long-term benefits of having your ideas organized and easily accessible can save you countless hours of frustration and lost productivity.

Where do I start with PKM?

The best way to start with PKM is to experiment with different tools and workflows until you find something that resonates with you. Don’t be afraid to try out various note-taking apps, mind-mapping software, or even good old-fashioned pen and paper. The key is to find a system that feels natural and intuitive, so you’ll actually stick with it.