Notion and Readwise now have a native integration in beta and so far it has been a game-changer for Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) nerds.
In this post, I explore how I have implemented it (pretty much all the credit to August Bradley though!) and what it has meant to me.
I’ve been closely following August Bradley’s Notion Life Operating System series of videos as he has been releasing them over the past few months.
His Notion set up uses Systems Thinking and the flexible Notion functionality to really take managing everyday tasks as well as higher-level life management to the next level.
I won’t spend too much time delving into the details of the system as I want to get to the main point, which is the Notion/Readwise integration.
However, for the sake of context, I’ll just say that part of the setup involves a Mind Expansion Dashboard which is essentially an awesomely organised ‘vault’ of all the interesting things you have come across – from books you have read, podcasts you have listened to even your own weird/random shower-thought that for some reason you thought was worthy of immortalizing in the written form.
The system is designed so that the information emerges under ‘contextually-relevant’ categories so that you can actually find it when you need it.
If you have to ask ‘why the hell would you need such a system in the first place’, then perhaps this is not for you.
However, if this sounds like something that could help you manage and actually make use of all the insanely huge amount of information coming at you every day – then read on!
As you can see, part of this set up involves pulling in various types of media such as books, articles, podcasts etc.
Originally, August’s solution for pulling in all this content was pretty manual. Specifically for books, it involved highlighting in Kindle, setting up the book in Notion and then copying and pasting the highlights from the Amazon notebook page.
For articles, it involved clipping them with the Notion Chrome plugin to Notion and then highlighting in Notion. Kinda doable but pretty tedious.
Anyway blah blah, this is all pretty redundant now as recently Readwise announced native integration with Notion.
I was semi-aware of Readwise a while back. I knew it as an application that sends you a random selection of your previously highlighted Kindle quotes every day via email. Pretty cool idea but not something I thought was really worth forking out money every month for.
However, when I found out this integration would let me sync directly to Notion not only my Kindle highlights but also article highlights (via Pocket) I was pretty sold.
The set up is pretty straightforward. You basically
- Set up your Readwise account (NB: Only paid accounts can use the Notion integration)
- Link your Readwise account with other platforms you want to sync from (these include Kindle Instapaper, Pocket, Medium and iBooks)
- Run the Notion Export feature. This creates a new page in Notion with a library of all your synced stuff.
After that point, all your Readwise stuff will automatically sync with Notion periodically – books, articles, videos – all of it!
August gives some more context and talks through the setup process in detail in the video below.
The bonus benefit is now having access to the other Readwise functionality.
Every morning I have been reviewing my ‘Daily Readwise’ in the Readwise app – i.e. 10 quotes from books or articles I have previously highlighted.
It’s Tinder-style so you can swipe right if you’d like to see that highlight again at some point or swipe left to discard it forever into the depths of obscurity (suitable for embarrassing new age title read 10 years ago).
It’s really quite a nice experience to start the day this way: with a random combination of ideas and thoughts that – at some point in the past – you thought was valuable, inspirational, funny, thought-provoking or controversial enough to warrant the micro-energy to highlight. Better than starting the morning with random depressing news articles, that’s for sure.
Without a service like this, it is difficult to see how these highlight-worthy quotes would have re-emerged into your consciousness or had the same level of potential impact.
I’ve also been reading more since I’ve set up this system. Somehow it has added more value and meaning to the entire process as I ask my future self ‘will future me enjoy mulling over this weirdly crafted description about bees in 2024?’