Use TheBrain Software Faster
The quest for faster and consolidated
I am always looking for ways to use as few tools as possible. To this end, I have put a lot of effort into using TheBrain Software as the center of my daily activities.
In my last article, I discussed how I take meeting notes in TheBrain Software, something I do multiple times daily. But this is only possible because I have found a way to use templates to give me a fast way to create consistent notes.
TheBrain software’s inclusion of Markdown Language support in notes in TheBrain version 12 was a significant game changer. This put the note-taking ability on par with, or near, many of TheBrain’s competitors. By that, I mean I could capture well-formatted notes that would provide value to me when needed.
However, I still felt something was missing — a way to create and use templates. Luckily, I still do a bit of coding and realized that the software engineering world had already solved this problem with code snippet tools.
Markdown is the key
The reason a snippet tool will work is that “Markdown Language” is a kind of code. Easy to use, easy to learn. Markdown reads like text but acts like code. This means that you can use some of the same tools software engineers use. Let’s look at a few of them.
If you have a GitHub account, you can create Gist repositories as needed. If you have a GitHub account, you can go to gist.github.com to start creating your own gists.
Once created, they will always be out on the internet for retrieval. You can copy and paste from these pages. But I would recommend bookmarking the “raw” pages.
Many of the code snippet tools connect to your GitHub Gists. So by keeping your templates in GitHub Gists, you will ensure you never lose them.
You can find all of my Gists at https://gist.github.com/yazheirx. Feel free to use any of them.
The tool I use is Snippets Lab (https://www.renfei.org/snippets-lab/ )which I have connected to my GitHub Gist repositories mentioned above. I like this tool for the purpose for two reasons:
- On macOS, Snippets Lab has an “assistant” that runs in the menu bar.
- The app is included in Setapp, for which I have a subscription for.
Having a toolbar assistant means that I don’t have to switch applications to quickly grab a new template while documenting things in TheBrain.
The best part is you don’t have to use any of the tools I am using. Thanks to the eagerness of software engineers, there are hundreds of code snippet tools for you to choose from. Go out and look for yourselves.
What about TheBrain?
You might think that wanting to have as few tools as possible; I would want to use TheBrain to keep these templates. I have thought of a way to use TheBrain to do something similar, but it is just not fast enough or contiguous enough.
You can create a thought for each template you want. Connect all of these “template thoughts” to a header thought. Finally, pin the header thought for quick access.
I’m not too fond of this because it takes too many steps. The “menu bar” solution above means I never have to leave a newly created thought to grab the correct template. Even with the bread crumbs in TheBrain, I feel like it takes too long.
By using Gists on GitHub, and/or a code snippet tool, you can use templates to make your note-taking in TheBrain Software that much faster. By making templating faster, you are more likely to use TheBrain to take notes as well as improve the consistency of those notes.
Maybe TheBrain will add Markdown templates into an update. Until then, I will use a snippet tool.
I have published this article as a YouTube video as well: https://youtu.be/VJG7JsEVvkY