I was interviewed on Global TV BC last week as part of their “Health Series: Improving brain fitness”. Some of the discussion was to revolve around software for improving cognition and cognitive productivity.
What I hadn’t noticed in the various communications leading up to the interview was its scheduled duration: just 4 minutes! That includes the time the interviewer takes to ask her questions… So, I was playing their “brain game” that morning: trying to funnel my thoughts on these subjects into very succinct, helpful answers. Not an easy game.
Continue reading A Q & A Brain Game on Brain Games and Self Improvement
I’ve blogged about this before, but given that the Surf Strategically principle of my recently published e-book contains many tips on the subject, I thought the following would be worth repeating.
Continue reading Surfing Tips: Using Text Expansion Utilities and Launchers to Quickly Access Project Documents
Who would argue with this: “Learning is good in itself. The quality of performance —in work and personal endeavours — depends largely on prior learning”? Hence we should learn deliberately, and optimally. Now, if we are to devise better ways of learning, would it not help to have some explicit understanding of the different ways in which we can learn, or develop? I think so.
Continue reading What Can You Learn from the Knowledge of Others?
In Cognitive Productivity I described several illusions and biases that interfere with our ability to leverage knowledge resources. The first set of illusions is to over-estimate or underestimate the “helpfulness” of a knowledge resources.
Illusions of Helpfulness of Information
Selecting the right resource to process is critical to the development of effectiveness. Continue reading Is This Information Sufficiently Helpful?
This is a response to a Globe & Mail article by Harvey Schachter, “Technology’s productivity paradox”, last updated Monday, Sep. 08 2014, 2:23 PM EDT. That article is itself a response to a recent Forrester® report:
A Crisis Of Attention: Technology, Productivity, And Flow
Using The Science Of Knowledge Work To Restore Flow To The Workplace (July 14, 2014, by David K. Johnson with Josh Bernoff, Christopher Voce, Elizabeth Ryckewaert, Heather Belanger, Thayer Frechette)
To address the problems that are alluded to in the G&M article and Forrester® abstract, one needs to adequately specify the requirements of cognitive productivity. This is where most solutions fail.
Continue reading Response to “Technology’s Productivity Paradox”, Itself a Review of Forrester®’s A Crisis of Attention: Technology, Productivity, and Flow
This is a review of Mortimer Adler’s book, How to Read a Book, which I posted this morning on GoodReads.com
I have delved into Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book several times since the 1980’s. The book addresses major problems all readers face. Even if one doesn’t adopt the strategies it proposes, it’s useful to think about these problems.
Continue reading Review of Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book — 42 years later
In my previous blog post, I introduced the challenges we face in taking notes with technology.
Today, I have added to Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective a free OmniOutliner “meta-doc template” for taking notes about information that really matters to you. It may be a particularly high quality e-book, a potent TED talk, a very important lecture, an appealing podcast, or something else. If you don’t take notes about the content, then you have to rely on your memory. And we know that memories fade! If you do take notes about the content, you might as well take them in a systematic way such that you can easily find the information later when you need it.
Continue reading An OmniOutliner Meta-doc Template for Taking Notes
There are several good reasons to take notes about information you process. Most people don’t, because they lack note taking systems or the motivation to use them. Technology has made note taking both easier and harder. Easier, because one now has more tools than ever to take , organize and find notes. Harder, because there is now what seems to many to be an unmanageably large amount of information to take notes about.
Moreover, none of the tools are entirely satisfactory in themselves. For example, note taking apps such as Evernote® and Microsoft® OneNote® have major drawbacks, such as locking your information in an opaque, proprietary database (remember Lotus Notes?) whose contents cannot be accessed using standard file management utilities. To use Sharon Bratt’s expression, they have low “pedagogical utility” —despite their appeal for certain problems, they are the opposite of what you need to stretch your mind when “delving” potent content.
Continue reading How to Take Notes with Technology: Far Beyond the Cornell Method with Cognitive Productivity
Today, I added an opening quotation to a chapter in Cognitive Productivity that deals with challenges knowledge workers face in their quest to use knowledge to become profoundly effective. <1> The section in question deals with demands on our time. A distinctive feature of humans is the amount and kinds of mental processing that can take place between stimulus (information) and response. But how can we produce great cognitive products if we don’t sufficiently exploit our own mental abilities? This means we need to disconnect ourselves from the Internet firehose several times a week and create quiet time for ourselves… time to integrate what we have read, select problems of understanding to address, and provide solutions to them in the form of knowledge that will guide subsequent action.
Continue reading Nelson Mandela Missed the Time to Think that Prison Provided