Inbox in Mem is one of those features that can be a little confusing. It can feel like you're not sure what to use it for. 

Having just read my friend Tiago Forte's new book, Building a Second Brain, I've realized that the Inbox in Mem can be one of the most valuable features for everything from taking smart notes to processing important information and more 

Before I show you how to do this in Mem, you need to understand some key concepts.

The Difference Between Information, Knowledge and Wisdom 

 What you consume and capture is information that could include:

  • Notes from the books you read

  • Quotes that you highlight from podcasts

  • Summaries of key points in a meeting or lecture that you attended

  • Key learnings from online course you're taking

  • Key points from something like watching a tutorial video

But if you don't take the time to process and think about what you take in, it won't be very useful.  

The goal of taking notes isn't to store information. If you take the time to process what you take in, it'll be strengthened and help you turn information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. 

When you turn knowledge into wisdom, you not only remember what you read, and generate valuable insights.  Those notes are a lot easier to find and use in the future whether it's for writing a new blog post or gathering resources for a project. 

One thing I always  say when teaching students in the Maximize Your Output course is that the point of a note-taking tool like Mem isn't to build a knowledge management system, but to build a knowledge generation system 

Three Ways to Use the Inbox  

The inbox is a really powerful tool that helps you do three things:

1.Prioritize What's Important

First, it helps you prioritize what's important. As you add more and more notes in Mem, it can get pretty messy because of the non-linear organizational structure. By using the inbox, you can actually prioritize what's important. 

2.Remember Things You Want to Deal with In the Future 

Second, you can remember things you want to deal with in the future. You have an idea that you wrote down, but it gets lost in the timeline. If you put it in your inbox, it will always be there. That way, you do not have to scroll through the timeline to find the brilliant idea you had, or the brilliant idea you had for something you wanted to record.

3.Separate Capture and Organize

Third, the real nugget in Tiago's book that really opened up the value of the inbox for me was when he said, "The temptation in initially capturing notes is to also try to decide where they should go and what they mean."

  • The worst time to figure out where a note goes and what it relates to is when you capture the note.
  • When we record ideas from books we read or articles we read on the internet, we're basically in a single context 
  • If you try to process the note as soon as you take it, the context inevitably shifts, leading to all sorts of attention problems
  • The inbox in Mem allows you to do is to organize notes by destination instead of source.   
  • By putting it in the inbox you can come back to it at some later point and then decide where it's going to go and how you might use it or what projects it might relate to.

As a result, you don't just end up taking all these notes trying to figure out where they go and context shift.  You're able to separate your workflow for taking notes, from your work execution to using those notes. 

Give the inbox a try and see how it can help you manage your work. It's an underrated tool that more people should be using. 

The inbox is one of the most useful, but underrated features of  Mem. With the inbox, you can prioritize what's most important, separate capturing notes from processing them, and use it as a holding ground for ideas you don't want to forget about. 

One of the tendencies I had was to start clearing my inbox right away just because I felt like it was clutter. 

I realized that if you clear your inbox all the time, you actually end up not processing a lot of notes. You end up having a bunch of blank notes with nothing in them. Hence, you end up missing out on a lot of valuable opportunities to capture really useful insights.

While I've only scratched the surface here, hopefully this gives you an idea of some ways that you can start using the inbox in your own workflow.