Friday, January 1, 2016

Organising your mind for 2016

If you find yourself constantly forgetting things or not really performing at work due to the lack of focus, you should read The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin.

This is the book to read to understand why our memories are getting poorer with the smartphone among other things. For instance, we take notes on our smartphone, but it is also the same device where we store photos and videos. Although it is very helpful in externalising our memory, as a result of the multi-functionality of the device, our memory does not "associate" clearly or link with the phone. This is compared to the olden times where each device only had one function. One of the ways he suggests to help your improve memory, is to have two phones, one for work-purposes and the other for taking videos and photos.

The first half of the book explains how our mind works and how it is being challenged by distraction caused by the age of the Internet and smartphone. We are simply too distracted to focus on a task, to allow the memory linkages to build in our minds. In the second half, he prescribes simple methods that will help improve our memory as well as reduce distraction.

Having read that book, for 2016, I will very likely have a paper notebook to jot down work-related instructions and thoughts. I will also switch off my office's instant messenger and emails during windows of time. This includes hiding my mobile phone in a hard to reach place.

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