Thinking outside the brain
Six hours to respond to a conference call to paper
In this video Varun describes how the CORA framework I developed in Notion, enabled him to submit a conference paper in under six hours, and the mental freedom it has given him. This is something that would normally take days or even weeks to complete.
At the time Varun had been using the CORA platform for just three months. We caught up again yesterday and he told me that he continues to use it for his studies, and now also using it to manage information in a job he’s taken on to fund his studies.
What I love, is that while I’ve refined it over the last couple of years, the core and essence is the same. The fundamental principles of simplicity and making connections between the ‘packets’ or pages of information is what makes it work.
Why do we need to think outside the brain
There is an abundance of digital information in the world today, and we have to get it out of our head, and into a system we can trust. If that system mimics in some small way the neural networks of connections in the human brain, we’re probably on the right track.
I’ve seen people struggle to capture and organise information on their computers and devices, and seen them suffer the frustration of not being successful at it. It’s perfectly understandable. The tsunami of information computers have generated has been sneaking up on us, and we've never been taught how to deal with information beyond the rudimentary creation of files and folders. If I look at my 15 year old daughter’s experience as she goes through high school while using a computer every day, our young people are not being taught these crucial skills - because the teachers don't have them and are struggling too.
The human brain is really good at certain things, but holding things in memory then delivering them at the right time is not one of them.
How can we think outside the brain
After 40 years of learning how to use computers, I could count on one hand, the number of people who have created, refined and tested an information system that makes it easy to file then find any information at a snap. What I’ve learnt from these people and my own experimentation are some fundamental principles that can help us move beyond information overload.
The solution isn’t about finding some perfect productivity app, it doesn’t exist. Rather, it’s about developing a basket of tools, habits, techniques, and mindsets that together free up attention and energy for the real work - the work that’s important to you.
Forgive me if I’ve left you hanging a little, with this week’s letter. I was down with a fever yesterday and not on top form 😉 I’ll share more in future letters.