I’m very proud to present version 3.0 of RandomNote Web, a free web app we created to help people serendipitously resurface and rediscover their Evernote notes, with the goal of improving their learning and creative output.
Version 3.0 was generously created by Chris Galtenberg, Callum Flack, and Ben Mosior, originally as part of the online course Building a Second Brain. It has proven so incredibly useful, we’ve decided to open it up for free to the world.
Imagine if you could push a button, and immediately be given an idea.
Not just any idea. A useful idea, that you yourself chose to save at some point in the past.
In recent years, books like Antifragile, Seeing Like a State, and Incomplete Nature have opened our eyes to the power of randomness as a means to creating more resilience, strength, and creativity in our lives.
Yet if you look at how most people behave, they seem to constantly be trying to remove randomness from their lives. They make to do lists, organize their files, and schedule their calendar all with the goal of making things more predictable and certain.
But there is something being lost as we impose more and more order on our information: serendipity. The greatest breakthroughs usually come from connections that are unexpected, unusual, and unorthodox. When we impose too much order on our ideas, it is these very connections that slip through the cracks.
We created RandomNote to purposefully inject some randomness back into your workflow. To remind you of notes you took the time to create and save, but have probably forgotten even exist. By systematically resurfacing knowledge from the past without requiring any extra effort, RandomNote helps you draw from the sum total of your accumulated life experience, not just what you can remember in the moment.
Here’s how it works:
- Every time you visit this web address (https://evernote-random.glitch.me), you will be shown a randomly selected note drawn from your Evernote account
- By default it draws from all your notes, but you can also choose to draw from a specific notebook (or from a certain set of notebooks if you follow my PARA organizational system)
- If you want to edit, move, or tag the note that appears, you can open it in your browser OR in the Evernote app on your computer with one click
Bookmark the web address above for easy access, or even better, watch the video below to learn how to set RandomNote Web as the “default tab” in the Chrome browser – every time you open a new tab, instead of being shown a blank screen, you will have the opportunity to review a note at a glance.
If you review just 3 notes per day (out of the dozens of tabs you create), you’ll review more than 1,000 notes over the course of a year! That is 1,000 opportunities to reuse, remix, remember, or revive a piece of knowledge that you deemed worthy of keeping, using nothing but the brief moments while you type in a search term or wait for a page to load.
I believe this simple little web app has revolutionized my learning and creativity over the past year. I’m constantly being reminded of serendipitous connections – a quote I read in an article that I can now use in a blog post I’m writing, an interesting statistic that helps me make sense of a marketing trend; a stock photo that is somehow a perfect fit for a slide presentation I’m working on.
If creativity is the ability to see unexpected connections, then RandomNote Web turbocharges that process using the power of technology. There is no reason to wait around for serendipity to happen to you. By constantly putting in front of you the best of what you’ve read and learned, you are drastically multiplying the chances that “luck” will find you.
If you’d like to dive deeper into the field of personal knowledge management, including how to create effective digital notes in the first place, check out my online course Building a Second Brain.
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