no.18 - Personal Growth in PKM (in Tana + other app)

The Most Powerful Use-Case of Personal Knowledge Management: Personal Growth

Knowledge Management is a part of Personal Growth.

Odds are: If you’re interested in knowledge management, you are seeking to improve as a person.

In other words, people interested in Personal Growth find their way into Knowledge Management.


First of all, Personal Growth is about growing. (duh…)

You grow by:

  1. Acquiring knowledge and wisdom
  2. Implementing teachings you find
  3. Reflecting on your experiences

And where does Knowledge Management fit in?

Knowledge Management is how you organize the knowledge you acquire and also keep track of your implementations and reflections.

At the end of the day, we all seek knowledge management as a means to grow. Be it growing your brand, your business, or just yourself.

Good knowledge management improves your ability to process information and make better decisions.

In simpler terms, your ability to think better.

And better thinking is crucial to personal growth (and any form of growth).

Join me in understanding how you can use Tana, or another app, as a powerful ally in your personal growth quest.

P.S. I've skipped 2 weeks for this edition, as I was traveling and refueling.

In the process, I've decided that now, the Fis Letter editions will be released every 14 days, instead of weekly.

Researching, planning, and writing every week was too time-consuming, and I want to have time for other important pursuits that I'm assuming.

In summary, I wish to keep a high quality of articles. The 14 days are to make sure I will keep providing deep issues that are well thought out and structured, with time for ideas to mature and develop as I'm writing.

💬 Quotes

Quote 1

Personal Development 101: Set goalsLook at them. – Brendon Burchard, author of High-Performance Habits

You may improve by accident, but it's easier to improve with a plan.

Goals are your guiding star for crafting such a plan. When you have goals, you are more motivated toward a better life.

But only if you look at them.

If you forget or abandon your goals, unfortunately, you get no benefits. 😔

The only way to reap the benefits of goals is with a place to look at them.

In any note-taking app, you can pin your goals to the sidebar. This allows you to always have them in sight, and not forget about them.

In my Tana workspace, I have a Game Plan section where I keep my goals.

Tana Sidebar with Game Plan 2023 pinned

Also, if this makes you feel better, goal setting is not about goal-reaching.

Goal setting is about ambition!

Setting a goal means you have ambition towards a new reality. You envision a future that’s better than your current reality.

If you achieve this exact future or not, is secondary.

The primary goal is to improve your current reality.

Quote 2

If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” – Stephen Covey

Yes, setting goals is great.

But setting the wrong goals is a nightmare.

It could mean years of effort towards something that doesn’t really inspire you, or that you're actually not that interested in.

"The ladder leaning on the right wall" is setting the right goals.

You set the right goals by knowing where you truly want to go.

This means 2 things:

  • Develop a sense of Vision
  • Be reminded of your Vision.

Nota-taking apps are amazing to define a Vision and also keep it in sight.

Tana Sidebar with Vision pinned

Quote 3

To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates

Journalling is one of the best ways to understand yourself.

Getting your thoughts out of your mind and into the screen.

This helps you see 👀 what’s in your mind, and interpret it.

Even better is to have your thoughts in a structured format that you can revisit and gather insights from.

Tana allows you to journal with audio notes, you can literally journal by speaking to your phone.

Journal session reflecting on week 20 of 2023

Tana also allows you to process your journal entries to extract specific items, such as tasks, ideas, wins, opportunities, bad behaviors, etc.

I transformed the audio note into a reflection note, which has a command to extract the specific items I've defined.

Items extracted from the journalling session

Quote 4

There are ONLY 3 ways to create lasting change:
• Have an epiphany.
• Change your environment
• Change your habits in tiny ways”

– BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits

Can you guess where knowledge management plays a role here?

• Change your environment.

Your Second Brain is your digital environment.

And you can change it according to your desires.

One of the most powerful sources of lasting change lies within your simple note-taking app.

Changes to your layout and your workflows can create changes in how you think, feel, and act in your day-to-day life.

This is a vastly underrated aspect of note-taking apps.

The power to reclaim your attention, and guide your own behavior, instead of selling your attention to big tech companies and social media.

📄 Notes

1. Behavior Design with Tana Supertags

Tana is ASTOUNDING to design your behavior.

As the previous quote by BJ Fogg suggests, you can influence your own behavior with environment design.

In Tana, you can design Supertags to guide your behavior.

Supertags work as a guide to your thoughts and actions.

The very structure of the supertags acts as a template for your own behavior. It's fascinating when you think about it, you design the thought processes and actions you want to go through in the future.

Few tools are so flexible to design your behavior.

And how does this work?

The fields you choose are reminders for yourself.

  • Information to fill in.
  • Ideas to remember.
  • Nodes to surface (using Live searches).

Here is a META example (The Fis Letter):

Template for writing The Fis Letter.

I have a reminder for everything I need to do when publishing a Fis Letter:

  • Shortcut to write in beehiiv
  • Header Images
  • Edition's Title
  • Quotes
  • Notes
  • Links
  • etc.

The best thing is:

Every object type has its own (unique) design.

You can guide your behavior when working with pretty much anything.

Each object then becomes a powerful tool to design your own behavior.

2. Tana's Daily Node

In Tana, you get a new node every day.

“Oh, I already know what this means, Fis" – you say.

Yes indeed!! This gives you an amazing opportunity to:

Guide your behavior.

Every. Single. Day.

Your "Day Supertag" acts like all other supertags, you can create a structure to guide your thinking and your behaviors.

The only difference is periodicity.

You know exactly when you will be going through the sequence of actions you defined for yourself.

Every day.

This is, unsurprisingly at this point, a fantastic tool to guide your behavior.

You can use the Day Node to choose any sequence of actions for yourself and go through them every day.

But this begs the question:

What are you optimizing your daily node for?

  • Performance?
  • Reflection?
  • Learning?
  • Execution?
  • Creation?
  • Growth?

For Personal Growth, some extremely valuable practices are:

  • Daily + Evening routines!
  • Reflection / Journalling
  • Deliberate Practice
  • Visualization
  • Affirmations
  • Gratitude

Design your daily node and reclaim your power.

3. Reviews in Tana

The final component of Tana for Personal Growth is Reviews.

Reviewing your behavior is a massive source of growth.

The review I'm referring to is a critical thinking review. Another name would be performance reviews.

The goal is to gather insights about your behaviors and results. To improve your performance for the next iteration (of whatever it is).

With this type of review, you learn from your mistakes, measure your progress and acknowledge what worked and what didn't.

Reviews are valuable sources of knowledge.

I am currently working with the following types of reviews:

  • Project Review
  • Weekly Review
  • Monthly Review
  • Quarter Review
  • Year Review

This is how I would organize my Weekly Review:

First, an initial journalling session reflecting on what happened (possibly using audio notes).

Second, listing the major wins I've had each week.

This is a fundamental principle of living in the Gain mindset (from the Gap and the Gain).

Lastly, defining a set of prompts that I wish to answer every week.

These are supposed to make me reflect on my behavior, make me feel inspired, and to guide me to make better decisions and know myself better.

Weekly Review Supertag and prompts

🔗 Further Reading

This is a fantastic book by Brendon Burchard. He wrote this book based on people he considers to be high-performers.

He identified the key behaviors that made these people stand out from their peers, and live meaningful, productive, and fulfilling lives.

The result was 6 habits, they are:

  • Seek Clarity
  • Increase Productivity
  • Generate Energy
  • Raise Necessity
  • Develop Influence
  • Demonstrate Courage

It's worth saying that High Performance Habits (HPH) are not automatic habits, but rather habits that one must seek deliberately.

By now, you should be familiar with the idea that Tana provides AMAZING opportunities to implement the habits to become a high performer.

In Tana, you can design your behavior, to deliberately seek these habits every day, every week, or whenever you are working on something specific.