Do you find that you have 30 tabs open in Chrome at any point in time with the intention of reading them all at some point in the future? You’ve received an interesting email but you’re busy with something else? We are all bombarded with information overload all day every day! You’re not alone in wanting to figure out how to capture and organize all this information.
To solve this issue, I use an app stack of Notion, Instapaper, and Readwise. I’ve found that this gives you a way to filter this information stream and curate only what’s interesting and relevant to you. Not only does this keep all your information, but it also provides you with a method to summarise and distill all that information into something you can use.
In this post, I’ll cover the benefits of and how to integrate Notion, Instapaper, and Readwise to supercharge your note-taking habits.
Sounds good? Then keep on reading!
Collect Information Efficiently With Instapaper
The first app in this process is Instapaper. This helps me to collect various articles and emails and store them all in one spot, ready for consumption.
Instapaper is a “read it later” app. Usually, when I come across an interesting article or email, I won’t have time to read it all and highlight the interesting snippets. Instead of leaving multiple tabs open on my phone, I save the article to Instapaper and save them for my commute or when I’m doing some reading in the morning or before bed.
There are a few “read it later” apps out there like Pocket, but I prefer Instapaper for its simplicity. It plays well with all of my devices and it syncs well with Readwise which I’ll cover in the next section.
Another benefit of Instapaper is that it will get rid of all the ads on the article. The offline reading function is handy for my commute too.
Like when we were in school, I will take the opportunity to highlight passages that I think are useful and interesting. This is the first layer of information filtering and although it might not be needed at that point in time, it helps to create a central repository on said topic for me to access at some point in the future.
For example, I’m interested in financial markets and trading. I’ve recently come across an article on options trading which I may want to get into at some point. I’ve added the article to Instapaper and highlighted a few key concepts. These highlights will make their way through the apps and land on an “Options Trading” page in Notion, ready for consumption when I look at it seriously.
How To Connect Instapaper to Readwise
It’s very easy to connect Instapaper and Readwise. In the Readwise dashboard, click on Import
In the Import Highlights, find Instapaper and click Connect.
A new screen will pop up asking you to Allow Readwise to access your Instapaper Account – log in with your Instapaper details.
And that’s it!
Grab a quick coffee while it all syncs. When it’s done, all the highlights you have made in Instapaper will show up in the Readwise library.
Distill Your Notes With Readwise
Readwise is an app that captures all your highlights for review. Along with the review, it helps you remember this information by sending daily snippets via email or the app.
You might be wondering why we don’t just go straight from Instapaper to Notion – well yes you can.
However, Readwise is able to aggregate quite a few other sources – e.g. Kindle highlights, Twitter threads, or Airr notes (podcast listeners) to name a few. Readwise also has a handy Chrome extension where you can highlight a web page, right-click and automatically send it to Readwise.
How To Connect Readwise With Notion
So we’ve read the article, saved the notes/highlights, and reviewed the notes. Next, we’ll import and categorize the notes in Notion. This will enable us to easily recall the information at a moment’s notice.
Again, through the Connect & Sync menu in Readwise, click on Export Highlights.
Find Notion and click on Connect. You’ll need the Readwise Exporter browser extension.
You’ll then be asked what to sync – I keep the first 3 toggles on.
Grab a second cup of coffee while your highlights are exported to Notion.
All your highlights are now automatically exported to Notion in a nicely formatted database.
Make Your Notes Useful In Notion
Now for the pièce de résistance!
As you can see, Readwise creates a nicely integrated database within Notion. You will now have an automated process of capturing, summarizing, and storing all your notes.
The best thing? Nothing is lost. All the appropriate metadata is automatically captured. So if there is something you think you missed, you can easily go back to the original source and find it!
From here, you can enrich your notes by adding other pieces of research and linking them to other ideas you have pulled along the way. For example, when I’m working on a new blog post, I can add relations to the Readwise database. This helps me to create connections along the way, leaving me to focus on what’s important – writing the post!
Let your brain focus on the creative side of things instead of trying to recall that paragraph you read weeks ago!
You may also be interested in Is Notion Good For Note Taking?
This has been inspired by Tiago Forte’s progressive summarization. He talks about how to take a vast volume of information and distill it into something you can use, at some point in time in the future.
There are plenty of other note-taking apps out there. The best point about this app stack is that it’s frictionless and makes note-taking an absolute pleasure. I’m yet to find a simpler way of taking all your research and forging it into your own work.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find this helpful!
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