Tag Archives: Efficiency

The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

  1. How to organize your life to spend more time on the rewarding rather than mundane things (externalize as much as possible, set routines, remove the unnecessary)
Key Takeaways
  1. Be adamant about finding ways to externalize your brain as much as possible. This leads you to forget less, be less stressed and gives your brain the space and capacity to focus on truly difficult problems which you enjoy
  2. Brain organization is amazing but not always optimal
  3. Organized mind leads to good, effortless decision-making
  4. Happy people don’t have more, happy people want what they already have
  5. Decision overload leads to being less productive and loss of motivation
  6. Attention is the most essential mental resource for any organism
  7. Layers of people let leaders let go and gain a zen like focus since they don’t have to worry about their schedule, etc.
  8. Attentional filter best picks up on change and importance
  9. Switching attention comes with a very high cost. Limit multi-tasking!
  10. Don’t need to limit information, just need consistent and efficient ways to organize it all
  11. We are hardwired to impose structure on the world
  12. Active sorting, what you need to do right now, is vital for organization, efficiency and productivity
  13. Fundamental principle of being organized is to shift to-do list, information, whatever you can into an external source
  14. Consciousness lies on a continuum
  15. Sustained attention relies on noradrenaline and acetylcholine
  16. Develop zen-like focus by giving all your attention to one thing at a time
  17. Memory not just a replaying of a past experience but a rewriting of past experiences
  18. Best remember what is unique, leaves an emotional imprint
  19. Must be able to zoom in and out (detail vs. whole picture, what Elon Musk is incredible at)
  20. Categorize – gross/fine, functional equivalence, things similar in particular situations
  21. Writing things down conserves mental energy by not having to worry about it
  22. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it immediately
  23. Home and work environments are an extension of your brain – make it easy, calm and organized
    1. Have things used often visible, hide otherwise (helps you relax, avoid distributions)
  24. Create a junk drawer for things which cannot be organized
  25. Create different work spaces for different kinds of work
  26. Batch emails, create a special account which only a few people have
  27. Child like sense of wonder leads to very strong memories
  28. New acquaintances – write down why and how you met, their expertise, who introduced you, other context
  29. Can leverage other people’s expertise and use them as your external brain
  30. On average, people are Terrible at detecting lying and if people like us
  31. Being transparent enables social ties and makes it easier for people to forgive us
  32. Indirect speech – quantity, quality, manner and relation
  33. People have a very hard time ignoring information which is later shown to be false
  34. Daydreaming helps recalibrate/restore the brain (multitasking does not)
  35. For any large task, break into small, actionable chunks
  36. Chunking is much more productive and having a clear start/stop time helps you form solid memories
  37. Experts know what to pay attention to and ignore much better than novices
  38. Sleep – unitization, assimilation, abstraction
    1. Memory consolidation occurs within the first two hours of NREM and last 90 minutes of REM (alcohol disturbs both of these cycles)
    2. Jet lag hack – before traveling east, get into sunlight early in the day and before traveling west, avoid sunlight early and expose yourself to bright light in the evening
  39. Must disconnect sense of self-worth from outcome of a task
  40. Successful people paradoxically fail much more than “failures” but their reaction to failure is much different as they consider it a learning experiences
  41. Creativity comes from integration of executive and daydreaming mode
  42. Arrange life for flow moments – reduce change, be comfortable, avoid distractions, easy environment, etc.
  43. If make it big, have assistants take care of everything so you can focus 100% on the task at hand
  44. People typically ignore base rates when making decisions
    1. Bayes rate – take base rate and relevant information into account before making a decision
    2. Decisions must be made with long-term view, use probabilities and expected value over the long-term
    3. Don’t fall for denominator neglect (ignoring the scale, magnitude of safe car rides whenever we hear of a horrendous crash)
  45. Effective leaders
    1. Adaptable, responsible, high in empathy, able to see problems from all side
    2. Have high social intelligence and flexible, deep analytic intelligence
    3. Quickly understands opposing views, how people came to hold them, how to resolve conflicts in ways that are perceived to be mutually satisfying and beneficial
    4. Adept at bringing people together who appear to have conflicting goals
    5. Uses empathy to allow people or organizations to save face in negotiations
    6. Often great storytellers
    7. Build cohesive teams through mutual trust
    8. Create shared understanding
    9. Provide a clear and concise set of expectations and goals
    10. Allow workers at all levels to exercise disciplined initiative
    11. Accept prudent risks
  46. Function best when under constraint but allowed to be creative within this constraint
    1. Internal locus of control vital for self and employees
    2. Employee morale and performance improves when understand how their work fits into the big pictures
  47. Best filing system requires least  searching time, transparent to anyone, easily described, external brain
  48. Tickler files/reminders for deadlines, must know how long the task will take to complete
  49. 10 parameters max for optimal decisions, 5 is optimal though
  50. Take 10 minutes post meeting to summarize, write down action steps, etc.
  51. With information overload, must teach children to be critical, independent, clear and complete thinkers
  52. Not so important to know a fact as to know where to find/how to verify
  53. The more sense/dimensions you can involve, the better your recall will be
  54. In the pursuit of learning, slower is often better
  55. The greatest scientists tend to be artists as well
  56. Appendix – how to create your own 4 fold (Bayesian) decision making table for medical decisions or anything else
What I got out of it
  1. Really interesting book. Externalize your brain, get into flow by being 100% on the task at hand, junk drawer, chunk, weave other senses/emotions into whatever you want to better remember

Master Evernote by S.J. Scott

  1. Good and quick read on how to use Evernote efficiently
Key Takeaways
  1. Fortunately, the folks at Evernote provide an additional level of security beyond the standard account password. If you want to encrypt any part of a note, simply highlight the text that needs to be protected. Then “right click” or “tap” on the text, choose “Encrypt Selected Text,” then enter the passphrase for decrypting the text.     
  2. but my advice is to group everything according to the major areas of your life.     
  3. I recommend creating a default notebook for any note you haven’t organized and sorted.
  4. Local Notebooks are only stored on the computer or mobile device you use to create them. This information is more secure since it’s never uploaded to the Evernote cloud server. Since the primary benefit of Evernote is the syncing feature, I typically ignore this option. However, if security is of primary concern, then you might want to go with a local notebook.    
  5. The first folder to create is an !Inbox folder, which should be your default dumping ground for notes that haven’t been organized into specific notebooks.    
  6. !Action Notebook
  7. !Ideas:     
  8. Random Notebook:     
  9. What tags provide is a simple system for organizing and finding all of your information.     
  10. Tagging Practice 2: Uses Plurals Instead of Singular Tags     
  11. Tagging Practice 3: Tag with First Names and a Last Name Initial     
  12. Tagging Practice 6: Identify the Who, What, Where, When and Why     
  13. Let’s give an example here. Instead of creating two tags with multiple words such as “2013 ebooks” and “2014 ebooks,” then I’d make sure to have a tag for every aspect of a note. Example: • 2014 • Ebooks • Evernote     
  14. A star at the end of a word will generate results for anything that includes the term or comes after the term in a block of text.)    
  15. However if you do a search like this: notebook:[nb name] followed by the keyword, Evernote will only search in that notebook for the content.    
  16. there might be times when you want to do a search using just tags. Here are a few ways to do this: • Tag:[tag name] will pull up every tag with that name. • Tag:[tag name*] will generate tags that start with a specific string of text.    
  17. terms you desire]. So a search for specific chicken recipes would become intitle:chicken recipe.  
  18. year+two-digit month+two-digit day].    
  19. sending some to Evernote gives you a central   for storing receipts, travel information, purchase confirmations and other pieces of data that might be important in the future.    
  20. In the subject line, type in a title that describes the content. • After the title, add an @ symbol followed by the name of the destination notebook. This will send the email it to that folder.    
  21. After the @notebook, add specific tags (i.e. #kindle, #2014, #marketing).    
  22. In my opinion, the most important feature of CamScanner is it works seamlessly with Evernote.   
  23. If you get nothing else from this book, hopefully you’ll learn that IFTTT provides a treasure trove of ideas for using Evernote to save time and organize your life.    
  24. Choose Tools >> Import Folders >> Click Add.    
  25. The purpose of GTD is to take ideas, tasks and projects out of your mind and create a series of actionable tasks. The idea here is to stop thinking about what you need to do and start focusing on actually getting things done.    
  26. Clearing the mind creates a constant efficient and productive state.    
  27. GTD and Evernote Flowchart
  28. The process, really, is broken down into five basic steps: 1. Collection 2. Process 3. Organization 4. Review 5. Do  
  29. Idea #23: Create Process Checklists   
  30. Idea #26: Download Product Manuals  
  31. Take pictures of people’s business cards and save them to a notebook designed specifically for networking. After you save the cards, insert information about your conversations and why you added each person to the database. You should also set a reminder to follow up with each person at a later date. Enhance your networking efforts by adding personal information such as birthdays, hobbies and spouses’ names. If you follow up with a person six months later, that person will be impressed when you are able to bring up a tiny detail from your first conversation. Evernote makes it easy to keep track of these details and review them before meetings.  
  32. Idea #36: Keep Copies of Everything You Sign  
  33. Idea #37: Scan Your Receipts  
  34. Idea #50: Create a Wiki for Your Travel This one is for the super-nerdy people (like me). When traveling to a new place, pull basic information from Wikipedia or a travel page and put it into a single note. The benefit to this idea is you develop a better appreciation for a destination when you understand its people, history and culture.   
  35. Idea #51: Scan Travel Receipts  
  36. Idea #52: Take Pictures of Important Items Things often get lost while traveling: luggage, passports, cameras and wallets, to name a few.  
  37. Create a list of favorite brands, clothing sizes and products your family members use. This is useful if you want to surprise someone important with a gift (such as a new shirt) and you can’t quite remember their measurements or preferences.   
  38. #57: Build an Evernote Cookbook  
    1. Each note with the main ingredients or the meal course (i.e. dinner, desserts and appetizers) to create an easy-to-navigate cookbook. There are so many ways to create your own cookbook with Evernote
    2. Digitize old family recipes
  39. Idea #66: Brainstorm Date Ideas   
    1. Find events that are within an hour’s drive. Keep track of upcoming concerts, festivals, seasonal events, athletic events and outdoor  s such as state or national parks. Create a note with the particulars of each event (hours, dates,   and type of event) within a “Date Ideas” notebook. Next, create a timeline of these events. Set a reminder if the idea can only be done on a certain day.  
  40. Make an audio recording of the song and save it to Evernote. Then when you have spare time, use an app such as Shazam to discover the specifics of the song and find out where to buy it.
  1. Some really good pointers on how to maximize Evernote and become very organized