Apr 04 2022
 min read


Anushka Das

Hoarding information as we do doesn't help in the process of learning; it makes it harder since the information is immense, and we don't know where to begin.

What is a Personal Knowledge Management System(PKM)?

PKM systems are defined as a collection of processes that a person uses to gather, classify, store, search, retrieve and share knowledge in their daily activities and the way in which these processes support work activities.

In simple words, it is a system that people use to learn. It is particularly popular for writing and content creation.

Usually, our process of learning involves the accumulation of data. This data can be in a digital form through bookmarked websites, or it can be through books and academic material. Hoarding information as we do doesn't help in the process of learning; it makes it harder since the information is immense, and we don't know where to begin.

PKM exists to make learning easier for us. It involves creating systems, personalizing the learning process, and basically, making it easier for us to surface the information when required. It boosts our productivity and efficiency massively.

This way of learning allows us to capture insights and references from all around us, whether it be from real-world experiences or in a digital form. It, then, helps us process this data and create more successful and creative content. Interlinked with the very innovative and interesting approach towards learning known as 'A Second Brain', PKM helps us by centralizing our knowledge in a place outside our brains. This propels our creativity which is directly correlated to the kind of content and direction we take with the implementation of our knowledge.

Read more about Building a Second Brain.

So, how do we create a Personal Knowledge Management system?

Here are the basic steps associated with creating a PKM:

Step One: Capturing

The very first step involves capturing information and knowledge. We are surrounded by an immense amount of information on every possible subject. This step stresses the importance of saving information that may prove to be valuable and can be used later.

It involves capturing information effortlessly so that future access becomes easier. It doesn't stress the details or how you are storing data, it only involves saving it—for example, your notes app on your devices, a small notebook, et cetera.

Step Two: Processing

Now that the information you need is saved, your next step would be to add context to it. Without adding context to your saved information, it becomes useless and difficult to access later.

You can do this on a regular everyday basis or even biweekly, whenever you feel necessary. For example, you can delete notes that are no longer relevant, add footnotes, et cetera.

You can move the information you have filtered to different folders so that you know where to begin in the future.

Read about how to effectively give context to stored information: The Zettelkasten method.

Step Three: Incubation

This comes after organising all your information; it is a passive process of basically making connections with all your data.

Your brain is always actively involved in coming to conclusions or coming up with ideas; this step involves sitting with the idea and letting it grow. The 'aha' moment, which sometimes hits when thinking, is the result of the incubation effect. For example: Even shifting tasks or taking breaks can spark your creativity.

Step Four: Creating

Finally, the culmination of all the steps and all the information you have collected. This step utilises the knowledge you have accumulated to create and build new things and ideas.

PKM is so popular and helpful for content creation because you have a lot of material, to begin with. You are never working from scratch. You simply need to make connections between the data you already have and come up with new ideas. For example: coming up with a blog post becomes much easier when you have saved content.

Information is all around us, and we are consuming it at an alarming rate. Implement the Personal Knowledge Management system as soon as possible and see the difference it creates when storing and using this information.