View Full Version : An Organizational Strategy from the book "The Organized Mind"

08-22-14, 01:25 PM
I wanted to share a few strategies this book has given me as well as recommend this book to any fellow disorganized individuals. I understand advertising is not allowed on these forums but I'm not advocating for the book, more so just organization itself.

One of the first things it talks about is that the human brain can only process 120 bits of information a second. A conversation uses 60 bits per a second, meaning we can only carry on 2 conversations at once...barely.

This means each item of multi tasking is using 60 bits of information, it's why we listen to the music while driving but we don't hold a conversation at the same time. If we're about to turn into a place we turn the radio down, or ask someone to stop talking. Keeping this in mind, as this is just one aspect of controlling your focus by reducing external stimulation.

The next factor is that we must throw things out that have no use. Junk thoughts, junk ideas and junk around the house, we do this through prioritization. Something that adhd people are most challenged in.

In order to properly prioritize you have to physically assemble a schedule before your day starts. Things that must be done today and things that must be done this week or perhaps tomorrow. You could go further than that if you'd like but the main element and purpose of it is to strip away junk and the anxiety we all tend to have, that lingering feeling like there is something else you should be doing with your time but you're not sure what it is. This leads to whats known as "analysis paralysis" where we get stuck in the mode inaction. It leads to writers block, poor study performance, job performance, etc.

Understanding importance is vital to it working. If you don't understand task prioritizations' importance in your success with that task, than you will use it maybe once and then forget about it. The reason it works is that it allows us to focus the 120 bits of processing we have on one task at a time and being in the moment of what we are doing. CEO,s celebrities, and many successful individuals all have assistants to do this for them which is what allows them to continue to be successful even as lifes demands become larger and larger for them. They live in the moment of each task focusing on it as if it were the only thing in the world that needs to be done.

The human brain can only make a certain number of decisions in a day. This means the more time you spend playing video games or get stuck in the analysis paralysis mode, the more fatigued your neurons will be. If you've ever felt exhausted during the day or at the end of the day, and then you expect yourself to do your most important work by the time you get home, such as school work, then you are doing it wrong. Go to bed early, put your more difficult tasks earlier in the morning. This means you will not give yourself the chance to procrastinate, and you will do the most important things when you are at your very best...provided you had an hour to wake up.

Task prioritization requires categorization, in order to be successful in school, you must categorize and break down things as you are learning the material. I do this in practice by focusing on the macro first, for example a system, like the brain. This is just an example, but if I wanted to understand the brain how would I go about it? I wouldn't start micro and go macro or try to memorize the terms and definitions, i'd first go macro and then micro. Often we replace what we think as macro as shallow learning but that's not it at all. Macro is understanding the systems function as a whole in the deepest but most concise way possible. So what is the function of the brain, it controls and regulates afferent and efferent divisions within the pns and cns systems. It is divided by two hemispheres, split by the corpus collosum. Furthermore, it has four distinct lobe divisions at the superficial level. Two of which are paired. Frontal, parietal, temporal,occipital. That was just information I had read several months ago but retained because I understand the functions of each respective lobe, as well as the pns divisions of the diencephalon.

I could keep going deeper and deeper into each structure and it's function but the main idea is that we often try to just get the information in our heads without focusing on its function and placement within the system. Why is football easier to understand than the brain? Because in football we are focusing on each players function in relation to the objective of the sport and its teams. We aren't using flash cards to remember player names, yet we remember them because we associate the importance of the players name with their function.

Do not memorize ever in college because you may put information in but you won't be able to pull it out. Always categorize, associate and organize via concise simplification. Look for patterns in information in your text, and never continue reading until you know exactly what your objective is, what each items function is and how it relates to the other functions of the system as a whole. When you take notes this is how you should take notes.

Do not multi task or procrastinate, as processing capabilities are a limited resource down to barely two tasks at a time and not always well. Schedule your most important tasks for the day the night before you sleep. Go to bed early, wake up early, start the hardest task first.

Do not forget that you have a limited number of choices you can make in a day before your brain feels fatigued, this means that the more choices you plan, the less fatigued and more in the moment and focused you will be. Also the less anxious you will be while doing that task.

I always read a lot on these forums about medications; particularly that they are not working when they used to work. To me the medications only cover a very small amount of what is adhd. Adhd is half biological and half psychological. That's what studies have shown, you get a 50 percent success rate using one or the other. Using both is a 90 percent and up success rate, so don't value one over the other. Though these are important psychological steps, i'll say that i'm covering the adhd weaknesses and if this stuff is challenging for normal people then it will be harder for an adhd individual to do these things. But I also think an adhd person can do these things because i've seen it done by the adhd individuals I know that were successful. Doctors, lawyers, computer scientists, these are distant relatives or various members of my family that are of no relation or some relation to me that I know personally whom have had an adhd diagnosis later in their life. They all use these methods of getting up early, and scheduling tasks for the day, and categorizing, and simplifying as well as time prioritization.

Thanks for reading, this only covered a few points from the first two chapters of the book by the way. So if you are wondering if the book would still help, I think it would and would be worth getting.

p.s the author is Daniel J Levitin