First of all, not everything I learn is transformative, and some things aren’t even worth the extra effort to revisit. But within this daily journey of learning, there is still plenty worth the extra thought. And for the things I want to fully know and use in life, there are a couple methods I use to make sure they get a nice place in my long-term memory.
(If you don’t already know, I’m using Notion for my TIL Journal. You can check out my free template in Notion. Just click here, and click the “duplicate” button to make it your own and start using!)
How I Remember What I’ve Learned
Write Entries Using the Toggle Tool
It’s like using flashcards. You use the toggle to ask the question, and hide your answer within the toggle.
This makes your entries look cleaner and more organized.
It also makes it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for if you have a lot of information packed into one page.
Review your Entry by Thinking of the Answer Before Revealing It
This is active recall. Putting in the mental effort to find that answer in your brain, rather than passively reading it. It’s the only way I set up and review my entries, because I’ve found it to be the most effective in improving my memory!
When you review your entries regularly, you’re giving yourself a better chance to refresh what you’ve learned and actually remember it. This is a vital step (in my experience) to ensure that what you’ve learned makes it to long-term memory. Otherwise, this would be a “write and forget” journal.
Use the “Entries Needing Review” Page in Your TIL Journal
When you scan your recent entries, mark those that you’d like to review by clicking its “Need to Review?” checkbox.
Those entries will be added to your “Entries Needing Review” page, organized by the date they were last reviewed.
When you review an entry using the active recall method, just update the “Last Reviewed” box, and it will be sorted to the back of the pile.
Decide on Good Times to Review Your Entries.
This could be:
– right when you wake up
– before you go to sleep
– while waiting in line or on the bus
– or any moment that you would ordinarily check social media, if you’re looking for a healthier substitute
Gradually, you’ll feel confident in your memory of an entry, and can uncheck the “Need to Review” checkbox, giving you more space in your “Entries Needing Review” page for new entries.
Extra Tip: Keeping your entries organized by category will help you tremendously if you need to freshen up on some topics later on, and need to find them easily. Otherwise, day by day, your entries will stack up and become more confusing to sort through. That’s where “The Library” comes in handy in my free template on Notion. It links to and categorizes every entry I write for the TIL journal!
I would like to give credit to Ali Abdaal’s Youtube videos, where I first heard of the Notion app, how to use the toggle feature for active recall, and the idea of using linked databases to organize notes. If you’re interested, you can check out his video here:
My Favourite Note-Taking App for Students – Notion (2020)
And I would also like to give credit to Elizabeth Filips’s video on Youtube, where she shows how to build a “second brain” in Notion. It was this video that helped me to improve my Library page, keeping all my entries neatly organized. If you’re interested, you can check out her video here:
My Second Brain in Notion – Full Setup
And that’s about it!
If you found this helpful, and want to start your own TIL journey, or if you have any questions, feel free let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!