The challenge this month is to unleash your inner genius—improving productivity and creativity by outsourcing your brain like the maestro Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci both artisan and engineer is revered for his creative mind and inspired genius. The renaissance man influencing generations long after his passing with iconic paintings and literature divulging the mans thoughts, aspirations and creations. Never without notebook, the maestro understood that expression affords a person the freedom to think—by externalizing thoughts, we free up space for creativity, intuition, and awareness to arise.

Today, this principle is transformed through digital means and is well interpreted via Tiago Forte’s ‘Building A Second Brain’ (BASB) method. Elevating productivity on any level is of great advantage in our frenetically paced society but feeling overwhelmed can stifle motivation and stall progress. Enter the BASB method of clearing your mind to think freely, which relates closely to Leonardo’s practice of capturing and storing thoughts outside his mind.

Having a capture tool that is easily accessible and uncomplicated will liberate your mind enabling you to leverage thoughts constructively as an aid to creativity and reference of focus. If you know what you have to do you can decide your next actions prioritising with new perspective and identifying opportunities to expand on existing ideas.

Whilst, Leonardo referenced his thoughts on paper the technologies of this century afford greater flexibility. There are various digital capture tools to outsource your brain and of these several are particularly synergistic with the BASB methodology.

Following, is a list of capture tools to try and resources exploring the subject in greater detail.

Build A Second Brain to capture ideas, freeing your mind to explore new thoughts and creative inspiration.

Capture Tools

Evernote acts as a digital repository for notetaking and project planning, making it easy to find what you need, when you need it.

Milanote is an easy-to-use tool to organize your ideas and projects into visual boards.

Notion is a connected workspace leveraging AI to enhance efficiency and expand communication.

How to Think like Leonardo de Vinci Workbook by Michael J. Gleb: is an activity based notebook which encourages a deeper analysis of your thoughts and inspires the exploration of new ideas. If you wish to experience the maestro’s mind in authentic style this option offers a beautiful recapturing of the renaissance.


Building a Second Brain combines timeless notetaking practices with modern digital tools to get organized and create the life you want.

BASB Introductory Guide: The definitive guide for organizing your digital life and unlocking your creative potential.

Forte Labs Blog: The Official blog for Tiago Forte’s Productivity Methods.

Michael J. Gleb’s Website: Be inspired by articles, products and Michael’s own notebook to think creatively and lead innovation.

Inga Yandell
Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.