Clear thinking

In the area of torrential flow of information ability to think clearly is a must skill to stay on top of your goals, plans and life in general.

The below post summarises few principles of thinking employed by Vaclas Smil

My two favoites are:

  • read widely, with maximum curiousity – drawing knowledge from different disciplines help not only understand those disciplines but also make connections between them.
  • put reality first and theory last – reality is much more complex and nuanced the any theory can be. Models are useful but they have their limits. Pair with Map is not the Territory

More principles are at A Few Principles for Thinking Clearly.

Writing for friends and yourself can clear your thoughts, help you plan and invite the discovery of new ideas. Writing with the intention to put your thoughts out there leads to real writing. Writing gets real when it is read. Before that, it is a dream in letters. Writing to get read makes you careful, responsible, and considerate. It forces you to think as simply, clearly and understandably as possible. It forces you to think about how what you say may look and feel from the outside.

Take the Power Back – iA

The above post is one of the best ones I’ve read this year. I made at least a dozen highlights and finished it with a head full of ideas about how to improve my blog.

H/T to Patrick Rhone for sharing it on his feed.

Pop the bubble you’re in with @iansanders

But it’s not healthy to breathe in the same air day in, day out. Enclosed by the walls around us, it’s difficult to stand back and get the perspective we need, or to take learnings from other industries and disciplines. Enclosed in our world, we’re less open to ideas about other ways of doing things.

Ian shares some simple but effective ways for  periodic change of your surroundings and environment both in terms of physical and mental space.  Some examples include:

  • leaving your office for quick coffee in an area you never visit.
  • reading magazines that are outside of your domain
  • at lunch time stepping away from your desk and going for a walk

More over at Getting out of your bubble – IanSanders – Medium

On walking

Two recent reads which higlighted walking as means of better thinking and working through concepts and ideas. Below quotes sums it nicely.

A Philosophy of Walking: Thoreau, Nietzsche and Kant on Walking

How to re-frame your work life around You: my walk n’talk takeaways

I knew I’d need to get my clients out of the office. It’s impossible to have transformative conversations in a boardroom or corner office, you need to go on a journey. You need to get outside, I find there’s an honesty out on the streets.

GTD – thinking, getting more done and lists

It’s easy to reduce the Getting Things Done methodology to a system that focuses on creating bunch of lists to help you do more. This is very redactive approach as the system has much more to offer.
I think that GTD is more about thinking rather than simply doing more. Time and energy are very limited resources so making most out of them while we can is critical.
On the face of it, GTD is about list and contexts, tools (big one) and calendar. However if you look past that it’s more about thinking, reviewing your priorities, needs and wants. Getting really clear about our stuff that what’s GTD is about.

I will never be able to do everything nor should I have to, yet I want to be happy and to have a successful (thousands of definitions) life. Marrying the two together is not easy task but with assistance of systems like GTD it’s possible.

GTD forces you to evaluate things that are on your plate, through weekly reviews, defining what you really want through looking at various levels of life and lastly breaking things down to the smallest action. The “what’s the outcome” and “what’s the next action” are pillars of thinking that remove a lot of ambiguity.

Sure in the end your will have to put things in some sort of system on some sort of list. List make things easier for us but whatever is on those lists should be a result of thinking framework that GTD provides.