Improving your note-taking skills

Using Backlinks: The Beginners’ Guide to Skyrocket Your Note-Taking

Here’s how to finally turn your notes into something meaningful

Photo by Fabio Bracht on Unsplash

Backlinks are everywhere.

Everyone in the productivity space is talking about new shiny tools like Mem, Obsidian, Roam…, and the list goes on.

Truth is, backlinks can seem daunting. Especially if you’ve been taking notes for years using the good ol’ fashioned way of folders and tags. In fact, I’ve been wasting my time taking notes for 10 years without any specific Methodology… until I stumbled across backlinks.

Backlinks gave a new purpose to my note-taking, and today I want to show you can they can dramatically improve your creative output, too.

Let’s dive into it.

When tags and folders backfire

For years, I’ve been using folders and tags to classify my notes.

When you think about it, classifying notes that way makes sense. Why? Because it helps us prevent chaos. It gives us a feeling of being in control of the thousands of notes we amass. (Yes, I’m looking at you, damn web clipper!)

But I found out that all the notes I took were locked into specific boxes. True, I could regurgitate everything I learned about “productivity” or “marketing,” but… I wasn’t really creating something new out of them.

In short, my notes simply became a better way to be a parrot. I was only retrieving without really creating.

Backlinks boost your Creativity

Creativity is a buzzword.

Everyone and their dog wants to be more creative. Everyone wants to get recognized for his ideas.

But few truly are.

Why? Well, the first reason is that most people don’t understand what Creativity actually means.

Here’s how the late Steve Jobs put it:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”

No matter if you hate or love Apple. I think that we all agree that Jobs was an incredibly creative person. In fact, the Invention of the smartphone is living proof of his creative genius.

So now comes the question: okay, how do we connect things between them?

Well, our brain has the answer. Our brain contains billions of neurons. Those neurons are connected with synapses.

Think of every neuron as an idea. And every synapse as a link.

Once you understand that linking is how we humans proceed with information, the next logical step is to implement links into your note-taking, too.

How to start using backlinks… today

So now comes the question: how to use backlinks?

Many people try to overcomplicate backlinks. When in fact, it does not have to be that hard.

I’m a huge fan of simplicity. Simplicity is the ultimate level of sophistication.

So if you want to take effective and simple backlinks, here’s the procedure.

First, you need to pick a note-taking app that allows you to create backlinks. If you’re in doubt, I always recommend Obsidian to my clients for one simple reason: because it works on every platform.

Obsidian allows you to create backlinks very easily by simply typing two brackets like so:

Image by Author

Then, start typing the first letters of the note you want to link to… hit enter. Voilà.

But now comes the question: How to choose which note to link to? And that’s a great one.

My answer is always the same: Simply link to what comes to your mind.

When creating a note, your brain will start making associations. It’s time to replicate those associations in your note-taking app.

This is how you truly create a second brain!

Do you want to take better notes? Sign up for my FREE 7-Day Email course by clicking here (Safe link to my website)



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Matt Giaro

6 Figure Creator. Helping Busy Creators Get Back Their Time (And Freedom). Feel overwhelmed? Go here 👉