Cognitive Productivity with macOS - Luc Beaudoin
To manage, process, evaluate and master knowledge.
help you thrive in the sea of knowledge.
This entire book can be read as a modernization of the mental aspect of the late Steven Covey‚Äôs seventh habit of highly effective people.
Mortimer Adler‚Äôs How to Read a Book remains one of the most popular and helpful books to teach adults how to read better.
Principle 1: Lead Yourself with Knowledge
Nothing has served me better in my long life than continuous learning. I went through life constantly practicing (because if you don‚Äôt practice it, you lose it) the multi-disciplinary approach and I can‚Äôt tell you what that‚Äôs done for me.
-- Charlie Munger
to lead yourself down the path to excellence by diligently selecting great information, and great technology (starting with macOS itself), while knowing yourself and knowing the person you wish to become (your values).
Covey 7 habits
- Habit 1: taking charge of your mind. build great products, and to improve yourself
- Habit 2; Align your activities. your whole life, in the direction in which you want to head. directing your information processing choices in relation to your values.
- Habit 3: to prioritize one‚Äôs information processing activities every day.
You Are an Information Processor
- The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Comsumption.
- The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains portrays us as hapless ‚Äúconsumers‚Äù of information.
- The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff
Effective knowledge workers = curators.
using knowledge to create products, solve problems, and transform ourselves. Knowledge workers then are not merely consumers, curators and do-ers. We need a more modern, scientific model of who we are.
Expertise requires, or is at least facilitated by, deliberate practice. But few people have time to practice.
You also need to reflectively apply the information in solving problems and creating products. (Apply knowlege)
Types of Information you Process
We‚Äôre information processors.
- Paper books
- Web pages
- PDF, ebook
- Podcast, audio books
- Phone calls, meetings, emails
- Flash cards
- Television, radio, webinars
Software that helps:
- Time tracking
- Bookmarking (Spillo, Pinboard, Pocket, Instapaper)
- RSS (Feedly)
To consume information, or to process (more active).
Different depths of processing: to surf, to delve.
You are a Value Maker
- What kind of information should you process?
- How much time should you spend processing?
- What percentage of your information processing time should be spent delving, surfing or practicing?
- How should you prioritize your information processing?
To paraphrase Aristotle: Virtue lies in a mean between a vice of defect and a vice of excess.
Ensure that information processing reflects your values.
Invaluable Wake Up Calls
Sooner or later, most adults experience a crisis in response to which they ought to reexamine their values.
We value health, our intimate relationships, our families, finance, etc.
To avoid these wake up calls, or to hear and respond to them properly (with knowledge) when they are sounded, we need to know, to live by, and to own our values.
the End of Your Life
Covey suggests forming a personal mission statement that includes:
- The person you wish to become (your personal development);
- The outcomes you wish to achieve;
- Your values
Your funeral: What do you want people to say about you?
Watch TED talk by "Matthew O‚ÄôReilly"
- Will I be forgiven? (The need for forgiveness.)
- Will I be remembered? (The need to have had an impact on people.)
- Did my life have meaning? (The need to have led a purposeful life.)
Let Your Dreams Influence You
Kelly‚Äôs book, The Dream Manager. This approach encourages people to identify major dreams in each of the following categories.
Dreams as general aspirations within the realm of one‚Äôs values.
A good life is one in which one knows one‚Äôs dreams and one attempts to pursue them. Furthermore, our dreams should be inspired by our knowledge. And they should drive our reasoning.
we choose our dreams and goals, we do not control the outcomes of our attempts to realize them.
We should orient our lives towards our values.
It's better to be rich and healthy, than poor and sick.
But beyond a certain amount money doesn‚Äôt tend to contribute much to overall wellbeing.
People tend to want to accumulate it, to their detriment.
The point of exploring your values is to ask yourself whether the things you are treating as
- important should really have that much value to you; and
- unimportant should be treated as more important
to ensure you are leading yourself in accordance with the right values.
Values are Motivators
A motivator is information that drives your assessments, and can lead you to form goals, which can in turn guide your behavior.
anything that has some value, that you treat as important.
We adopt them.
rules that we believe ought or should be true.
‚ÄúBe honest‚Äù, ‚ÄúBe on time for meetings‚Äù, and ‚Äúdon‚Äôt let your friends down‚Äù.
Source of shame or guilt when we break them.
Appealing or unappealing?
Our tastes, preferences.
One might like steak, but it's not a goal. He might even believe it's better not to eat meat.
One might have a predilection to brunettes while being married to a blond-haired woman.
Unlike standards and goals, attitudes don‚Äôt normally require justification.
They are also typically much harder to change than standards and goals.
We are willing to work to achieve them.
Goals are typically arranged in complex networks of means and ends.
‚Äútop level‚Äù, and subgoals.
you might want to interact with someone in order to conduct business, but then find you are attached to them and wish to interact with them for pleasure.
Without projects, it is not possible to generate value. In turn, our projects acquire value, and should motivate us, by virtue of their serving our values.
"Happiness Trap" Harris website.
- The Complete Worksheets for The Confidence Gap;
- The Complete Set of Client Handouts and Worksheets from ACT Made Simple;
- The Complete Set Of Happiness Trap Worksheets;
- The Complete Worksheets for ACT With Love;
In this way, you will select knowledge deliberately in order to develop yourself, create new knowledge, solve problems and serve the world.
Principle 2: Manage Your Cognitive Life Mindfully
Outlines are excellent tools for creating ‚Äúmeta-docs‚Äù, notes about what you process.
Archiving your PDF files
Convert Web pages to PDF.
‚Äúhow do you organize your PDFs?‚Äù
I initially found it extremely surprising to see, at one extreme, how some people can have extremely organized physical workspaces (and homes) and yet have completely disorganized virtual folders.
- Finder as a database (Ironic Software‚Äôs Leap app, or EagleFiler)
- bibliography managers designed for macOS (Papers, Sente, Bookends)
- opaque archiving apps (e.g., Evernote).
a digital filing cabinet, a research assistant, and a snippet collector:
- write a journal
- track all the files for a project or job
- save your favorite Web articles
- store financial statements
- plan a trip
- collect your course notes
- archive your e-mail correspondence
- research a purchase
- books to read
- store scientific papers
Much easier to use than DEVONthink.
Moreover, unlike Evernote and DEVONthink, as noted above, it stores your data in folders, directly on the Finder.
Bookends is a worthy alternative to Papers.
Quickly Accessing Local Sources
With Spotlight, Papers, LaunchBar, Alfred.
To create a world in which people would not merely ‚Äúconsume‚Äù linked information, but actively build and utilize their networks of knowledge.
It means enabling a world in which all kinds of information can be linked and utilized for cognitive productivity.
In this world, the type of resource or its location should not matter.
Manage your Attention (Your Information-Processing Time)
The key to cognitive productivity is to focus attention, for as much time as possible, on projects and tasks that generate outstanding value.
It is important to track your time so that you know how much of it you spend, every day, on projects and activities that generate value.
Timing is a truly excellent app that automatically tracks how you spend your time on your Mac.
It logs which apps you use, which websites you visit, and which documents you edit.
Timeline feature: you can precisely reconstruct what you were doing at a given time.
Part 2: Productive Information Processing
Principle 3: Assess Analytically
It is essential to evaluate knowledge resources as soon as you start to process them. your consciousness.
The main questions to ask in evaluating a knowledge resource are:
- Is this resource sufficiently helpful to justify the effort required to get those benefits?
- For what purposes can I use this resource?
- What type(s) of information is (are) contained in the resource?
- What information in this resource is helpful?
- How will the information help? What specifically is helpful here?
- How and when should I process this resource (plan, schedule)?
- To select or reject knowledge resources for further processing.
- To plan and schedule your processing of a knowledge resource. To determine how much time a resource is worth.
- To understand the resource, to build knowledge, and to learn. In other words, assessment contributes to knowledge.
- To become better at assessing resources: to become a connoisseur, so that when you encounter something really helpful, you are better prepared to make use of it.
If you are careless about assessment, you will waste time on, and be duped by, poor quality information; you will also overlook knowledge gems that your competitors will be exploiting.
About this Chapter
Critical reading is taught (or should be taught) at every university.
whereas reading is essential, it doesn‚Äôt tend to change us very much or very quickly. The mind has ‚Äúcognitive inertia‚Äù.
One needs to reflectively practice assessing in order to develop such monitors.
By regularly becoming conscious about evaluating one evaluates better and becomes better at evaluating in the future.
Helpfulness: A Pragmatic Concept to Drive Assessment
A resource might be of a very high quality but not useful to your projects.
Or it might be seriously flawed but still helpful.
CUPA: Caliber, Utility, Potency and Appeal
- Caliber is the objective quality of the document, according to standards, irrespective of your particular projects.
- Utility is how processing it might help or hinder you in the pursuit of your projects.
- Potency is how much the resource might affect you as a person. beliefs, attitude, goals, standards.
- Appeal is how much you would like or enjoy processing, or having processed, the resource.
Basic CRAAP Test:
- Currency. The timeliness of the information
- Relevance. For your needs
- Authority. Is the author an expert?
- Accuracy. Reliability.
- Purpose and Point of View. The reason the information exists
Often, resources argue or assume that there is a problem, which they set out to characterize or solve.
Check out the poster "Your fallacy is inforgraphic" (yourbias.is, schoolofthough.org)
Alarm Bell Clappers
- When an author claims to have identified the ‚Äúreal‚Äù cause
- Claiming a breakthrough. The attention economy is competitive. So publishers often claim there has been a major breakthrough in knowledge or understanding. Reality moves in a slow, methodical way.
General Epistemic Criteria
- Originality. Is this resource a historically creative contribution to knowledge?
- Impact. What impact has this resource had on the literature?