Creative work requires considerable perseverance and productive obsession. This in turn calls for a certain kind of mind. Not everyone is mentally inclined to think deeply and extensively. Without adequate self-regulation, brain power can be wasted by unproductive “perturbance”. That is when insistent motivators hijack one’s thinking, leading to repetitive thought —emotion, rumination, worry, obsession, perseveration, etc.
Working memory has long been considered by cognitive psychologists to be the most important cognitive predictor of fluid intelligence. For the longest time, working memory was thought to be a fixed capacity. However, about a decade ago, following the publication of a paper by Continue reading Where Should You Place Your Bet? On Developing Working Memory or Many Mental Mechanisms?
A couple of months before I started university, I spent some of my evenings learning to type on a typewriter. (A year or so before I purchased a Mac Plus.) My girlfriend of the day pleaded with me to engage in more pleasurable summer evening activities with her. However, I knew that I’d be writing documents for the next four years and beyond, and that I had better learn to type. I wanted to be able to focus on my ideas so they might flow as fluidly from my brain as they needed to. My playmate decompensated; but I Continue reading Is It a Good Idea to Enable the iPhone’s Predictive Keyboard and Auto-correction?
When they read, experts tend to seek out the gist and structure of a document. They pay attention to the table of contents. However, many PDF documents don’t have a table of contents. Fortunately, there are tools, like Smile Software’s PDFPenPro (coupon below), that enable you to add a table of contents while you’re reading. Continue reading Editing Tables of Contents with PDF Pen Pro: Delving Tips and Screencast
Reading contributes more to human excellence than any other form of knowledge acquisition. Reading comes so naturally to experts that they don’t tend to think much about the process. Yet reading is one of the most sophisticated mental activities.
Continue reading Are we Doomed to Read with Information Technology?
Smile Software’s TextExpander is the productivity app I use the most. It allows one to define and expand abbreviations for frequently used content (text and images). For example, suppose you frequently need to refer to me in text. You might create a snippet whose abbreviation is “@luc” (without the quotes) and whose target content is “Luc P. Beaudoin“. (See the section on name abbreviations.) That’s particularly handy for long or foreign names. (Mine is a French name).
TextExpander provides statistics that quantify its benefits. From the screenshot below you can see that I’ve expanded nearly 212,000 snippets, saving me 2.8M characters. Continue reading The Value of TextExpander Snippet Conventions: Web Addresses, Citations, Bibliographical References, Markdown and More