Book notes: The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information

Satisficing not getting the best option but something good enough. We do this for things that matter less, we pick something good enough. Satisficing is a tool for not wasting time on things that are not your highest priority. For your high priority endeavours the old fashioned pursuit of excellence remains the right strategy.

Research says that happy people are not those who have more but people who are happy with what they have. (See related note in The Snow Leopard by PM).

One of the most useful findings in recent neuroscience could be summed up as the decision making network in our brain does not prioritize.

A Gibson affordance describes an object whose design features tell you something about how to use it.

Daydreaming and mind wandering, we know are a natural state of the brain. This accounts for why we feel so refreshed after it and why vacations and naps can be restorative. Mind wandering mode stands in stark contrast to the state you are in when intensely focusing on a task. This stay on task mode is responsible for so many things we do, that researchers have called it the central executive.

Modes of the mind:

  • Mind wandering
  • Central Executive
  • Attentional Filter

The brains recalling of memories is not perfect. It can modify the memory in the process of retrieving it. The current mood and environment has an effect on how you interpret a memory.

Some tricks:

  • Write down each new idea and task on an index card.

  • Every morning organize your index cards and prioritize them.

  • If you cannot make a decision, write down what information you need to make that decision.

Women’s cortisol levels spike when confronted with clutter, men’s not so much. Elevated cortisol can lead to chronic cognitive impairment.

Everything has a designated place, try to put it back as soon as you are done using it.

Stick the IKEA wrench to the underside of the furniture after building it.

People in large urban centres procastinate more due to increased sensory information.

Procastination formula:

   Procastination = (Time to complete task  *  distractability  *  delay ) /
                        (Self confidence * task value)

It is important to disconnect your self worth from the outcome of the task.

Self confidence appears to have a genetic basis and is a trait that is relatively stable across life times.

Flow is not always good, it can be disruptive if it becomes an addiction and is socially disruptive. Flow folks withdraw from others.

Early risers are more productive - studies.