Academic Second Brain

Aliyar Azimov
1 rating

After developing and refining it over several years, I have created a comprehensive Notion workspace template that effectively manages both my personal and professional life as an academic. This template combines both project and knowledge management and has been designed to support a wide range of activities, including research, teaching, and learning.

By taking a systematic approach to managing knowledge, the workspace enables the user to work more efficiently and effectively while enhancing creativity. You can easily track progress on research projects, while also keeping track of notes and materials related to specific courses you are taking (or teaching). This workspace has been (and still) an invaluable tool for me as a PhD researcher, and I firmly believe that it could also be an asset to others who seek to optimize their work and manage their personal and professional lives more efficiently.

What this template offers:

Databases for project and life management

  • Tasks database: Tasks are specific, defined actions. This database allows you to sort your tasks by, for instance, deadline (due date), when you plan to do the task (do date), and by priority.
  • Projects database: A project is a defined endeavour linked to a specific goal, such as a particular paper you’re writing. In this template, Project pages allow you to store all of the details relevant to a given project in one place: related tasks, references, reading notes, and general resources.
  • Areas database: Areas are spheres of activity or responsibility that you need to maintain indefinitely. Examples include political engagement, your health, work admin, etc. These pages function similarly to projects, but they don’t have an end date and can themselves contain multiple projects.

Databases for knowledge management

  • Reference database: This database is for keeping track of your notes on academic references: journal articles, books, conference papers, etc. You can connect this database to Zotero to manage your references effectively throughout your research.
  • Resources database: Academic references are not the only resources you need to keep track of in your research. The General Resources database is for storing and organising meeting notes, class syllabi, admin documents, videos, webpages, etc.
  • People database: In academia, specifically in social sciences, you may seek interview surveys, consultations, etc. This database allows you to track your progress as well as knowledge gained during the sessions.

The Dashboard

On a day-to-day basis, you’ll likely spend most of your time in the Dashboard. Here you’ll find custom views of many of the databases reviewed above. You’ll also find some Quick action buttons to create new database entries and space for any fleeting notes you need to jot down during the day.


This is the ultimate study and research system for Notion. This dashboard is perfect for Master's and PhD students; however, bachelor's students also may benefit from most elements of the dashboard.

Academic Second Brain has been tested and optimized for all devices and screen sizes, which allows you to enter input from your mobile device, tablet or laptop whenever and wherever possible. However, for the best experience, it’s highly recommended to use it on laptops.

This template includes an ultimate tutorial guide that gives insights on how to use the template and modify it accordingly if necessary. Simply follow the guidelines to fully understand the Dashboard concept.


1. What is Notion?

Notion is an all-in-one workspace that allows you to take notes, add tasks, manage projects, and get organized. Whether you're writing or planning, Notion has a versatile design for getting things done.

2. Will I need to pay for a Notion subscription?

No, Notion does offer a free personal plan with no strings attached.

3. How I will receive a template?

After purchase, you'll receive a link to duplicate the Notion template to your workspace.

Buy this

You'll get access to this comprehensive Notion template to copy and modify as you like.

Academic Second Brain (PKM)
Academic Second Brain (DEMO)
Beginner's tutorial


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Academic Second Brain

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