A Renaissance Practice For The Modern Information World: How To Start A Commonplace Practice To Organise Your Thoughts & Build Your Knowledge

How I Use Tana as My Commonplace Book To Unlock Everyday Wisdom

Ev Chapman
6 min readDec 24, 2023

I have been a collector of things that inspire me since I first starting cutting out photos from Dolly magazines in the 90’s and filling them in a big filing cabinet my parents bought for me.

And I’ve continued the practice in one shape or another for years and years. In journals, filing cabinets & finally digitally.

I didn’t know this was called commonplacing until a few years ago. But as soon as I read about the concept of a commonplace book it resonated deeply.

A commonplace book is a place you collect anything that you personally find interesting from ideas, quotes, observations, information, facts, drawings, insights or anything else.

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Anything you come across in life that sparks you, you collect into your commonplace book.

They were immensely popular in the Renaissance and the 19th century when there were lots of new ideas in the world.

In our modern world with almost endless information I think a commonplace book practice is essential for everyone as a way to slow down, process their thoughts & build a bank of wisdom that is uniquely personal to them.

These days I use Tana as my commonplace book. It’s easy to get things in, organise them, make sense of them and connect them together to they can become useful later.

How I Use Tana As A Commonplace Book To Capture, Make Sense & Connect Information & Turn It Into Everyday Knowledge:

STEP 1: CAPTURE THINGS IN

The first step is to setup a way to easily capture all the things that inspire you everyday. The easier you make capture, the more it will become a habit for you.

I do this in three ways:

  • Readwise: Readwise is a great app to be able to connect to anything that you consume digitally and get it into Tana. Highlight books, articles even…

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Ev Chapman

Founder The ✨Spark Method™ & Tana Fast Track // Turn Your Personal Knowledge Into Powerful Ideas that increase your income, opportunities & authority.