TheBrain is software that I’ve had my eye on for a while now. As someone who loves both wikis and mindmaps, it’s an obvious choice to try something that seems to combine the strengths of both. Specifically, I’m drawn to the idea of everything being interconnected, not just in a linear fashion like with a list or even an outline, but more dynamically, with the relationships between ideas visualized.

TheBrain allows me to do this by grouping similar or related thoughts (“thought” meaning an entry in the “brain”) together in multiple ways: as a parent or child of the given thought (like a mindmap), a “jump” thought (related, but not above or below hierarchically), or via links in the text of a note (like a wiki). In doing so, you get a versatile, dynamically-updating web of linked ideas.

Like this:

Screenshot 2020-09-15 190912

It took me a while to fully test and really embrace TheBrain for a few reasons. First off, for a while the iOS app left much to be desired and the sync with the desktop version was buggy (for me, at least). Secondly, it’s expensive. And while they offer a free trial (and a free version), I couldn’t make it come together enough that way. Finally, and most importantly: I just wasn’t ready yet. There are some learning curves and in order to fully test it I had to take the leap and throw myself into using only it, to the exclusion of other apps.

In the end though, that made all the difference, as it has become an integral part of my system. In fact, I’d say it has become the crux of pretty much all aspects of what I do. I take notes and do research with it, brainstorm ideas and writing projects, plan and run D&D, log my day, and even manage my projects with it (with the aid of a task manager). That’s not to say it does everything, but it now serves as a central hub for the other apps I use to stay productive, creative, and in charge of my life.

As a follow up to my “complaints” section up above, I will say that the iOS app has been much improved and they resolved the bugs I was encountering, so the sync is much more reliable now. Additionally, they finally implemented a monthly payment option, which is a much more accessible option for myself (and undoubtedly others).

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