2nd Brain Paradigm Shifts

Have you shifted a paradigm recently?

Paradigms are philosophical and theoretical frameworks that we all employ in our minds to help us navigate the world.  Whenever someone experiences a radical change in perspective, we tend to say that they underwent a paradigm shift.

Tiago Forte believes that to succeed in our information abundant world, we need to undergo a set a paradigm shifts regarding how we understand and work with knowledge.  In a recent post on his blog, he explores a new way to think about the purpose of his course, Building a Second Brain:

“This may sound strange, but I increasingly believe that the purpose of this course is not to give students new ideas. It’s not even to give them useful techniques. Endless ideas and techniques are already out there for the taking. No, the purpose of this course is to take people through a series of personal paradigm shifts in their relationship to technology, knowledge, and the new world that is evolving ever faster.”

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Tiago believe the course allows for at least twenty paradigm shifts!  Have you gone through any of them yet?

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Konmari for Kids

mariekondoBeing organized is a challenge for all ages.  As a father, I see how children tend to be caught up in the moment.  It is always fun to see their eager faces when they pull toys out to play.  However, once the toy has lost its enjoyment for that session it is often left where it was last touched.  Is there a way to encourage children to tidy up and see the fun in it?

In a recent blog post, Marie Kondo shares her top four tips for tidying up with kids, starting with tip one – Narrate as You Tidy:

“As you tidy, explain to your children what you’re doing so they can learn from you. Try to convey that tidying is part of maintaining a comfortable home. If they see their parents tidying regularly with a smile, children will think of tidying as a positive everyday activity.”

To learn the other three tips, please visit her blog on the KonMari web site.

 

What Does the Science Say?

There are many methods and techniques to become organized at home and work.  The list is long and includes GTD, Building a Second Brain, KonMari, and many others.  However, have you ever thought that the gains made by these approaches are only illusionary?   Perhaps they are all simply feel-good methods that work for a short time and then fade away?  In short, is there any science to back up the claims of these systems?

In a blog post on the revamped Getting Things Done web site, David Allen provides a brief overview to explain why methods like GTD have an impact that relates directly to cognitive science.

“Recent cognitive science research shows that the number of things you can mentally prioritize, manage, retain, and recall is . . . (hold on) . . . four! If you park any more than that in your head, you will sub-optimize your cognitive functioning. You will be driven by whatever is latest and loudest—rather than by strategy, intuition, or objective assessment.”

Read the rest of David’s thoughts along with his book suggestions on the Getting Things Done blog.David-Allen-GTD

Ready, Set, Bank

I just returned from the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC.  If you are not familiar with it, the conference is the largest gathering of librarians, library workers and supporters in the world.  It is a great opportunity to uncover new trends, meet up with colleagues, and discover new technology.

person holding pink piggy coin bank

This year, I came across a wonderful free online course that can be done individually or through library facilitators.  It is called, Ready, Set, Bank.  The course is designed to educate people who are unfamiliar with online banking.  Two target populations for the course are seniors and immigrants.  As the course states:

“Ready, Set, Bank℠ gives people everywhere the tools and confidence to start banking online. Our videos guide learners through every step of the process, with overviews and step-by-step tutorials to help them manage their finances electronically.”

The course is a series of short online videos set into five chapters that are meant to orient individuals to the basics of online banking.  I am excited to explore the possibility of bringing the course to the Palm Beach County Library System.

Learn more by visiting the Ready, Set, Bank web site.

Not What, but Where to Discard?

mariekondoDo you have something you want to throw away, but don’t want to simply put it in the trash? Our belongings are varied and the method of sending them along to a new destination can be as well.  Some things may be worthy of resale, others might be suitable to give away, or perhaps you are uncertain if it can be recycled?  A little block like this in the process of clearing a space can cause the discard project to stall.

Organizational expert Marie Kondo is well aware of this obstacle.  So, she recently placed a resource guide on her web site to help with the process of discarding.  For example, under clothing she identifies three different categories for discard: donate, resale, and recycle, along with actual organizations you can contact for each type.

One amazing fact shared in the guide is that the average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year for the entire country!

Check out the rest of the categories on her web site.

Can a Second Brain be Built in a Day?

basbWe all know that Rome was not built in a day, but can a second brain be built in a seven hour workshop?

On Tuesday May 21, Tiago and Lauren from Forte Labs came to the Palm Beach County Library System to lead their signature course Building a Second Brain (BASB) for thirty five library staff.  Participants were recruited from across the library system, with many members coming from the Productivity Committee and the User Experience (UX) Committee.  All of them were excited about the benefits an electronic second brain had to offer.  Prior to the workshop, participants had a homework assignment to identify their “12 Favorite Problems” and to start capturing electronic items, such as articles, photos, news clips, etc.,  in Microsoft OneNote.  They also had access to an online version of BASB specially designed for the library staff.

At the start, the BASB workshop laid out the core tenants of the second brain philosophy: Capture, Connect, Create.  The morning was spent with a review of capture and then moved on to PARA which clarified the difference between projects, areas, resources, and archives.  Following lunch, the seminar moved to the theory and practice of Progressive Summarization.  Students then explored the concept of project packets that lead to the “Just In Time” project delivery system.  Finally, Tiago shared his view of the future of knowledge work in relation to personal knowledge management.

Library staff left the workshop energized and excited about the possibilities from mastering personal knowledge management.  So in the end, we learned that building a second brain is not a one time exercise, but an ongoing approach to curate the streams of information that flow around us.

Thank you Tiago and Lauren from all of us at PBCLS!

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Leonardo DaVinci – Knowledge Worker

On a long ride across the state of Florida, I downloaded an audiobook from CloudLibrary to pass the time.  My selection was the biography of Leonardo DaVinci by Walter Issacson.  As I listened to the fascinating life story of the archetypal Renaissance Man, it struck me that Leonardo was in fact a knowledge worker well ahead of his time.  Knowledge work is characterized by the worker having to define their own goals and the steps needed to achieve success.  Back in the 1500’s, Leonardo DaVinci was doing many of the best practices of knowledge work naturally and to powerful affect.

leonardoFor example, not trusting his head to remember ideas, Leonardo was constantly taking notes.  It is estimated that he wrote 5000 pages in his lifetime.  These wide-ranging notebooks jump from scientific studies, to sketches of machines and animals, to subjects for artwork, to notes about his personal life.  Leonardo was constantly generating new ideas and the notebooks detail how he pieced different ideas together for larger impact.  This made him an early expert in the field of personal knowledge management.

Another advanced knowledge worker skill was his drive to ask challenging questions.  Leonardo was always seeking out experts in the courts of Florence and Milan to engage in deep discussions on a wide range of topics.  This incredible multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach was a secret to his success.  For example, his knowledge of anatomy allowed him to accurately draw the muscles of people in his paintings.  This small detail gave the images a sense of realistic movement that other paintings of the time lacked.

To read more about Da Vinci’s fascinating life, copies of the Issacson biography should be available at your local library.  You can also view pages from his notebooks at the website of the British Library.  Unfortunately, I don’t think you will find a secret DaVinci Code in any of his notebooks!