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How to Think Better

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2018/12/14/think-better/

scotthyoung.com

How to Think Better
Imagine if you could take a pill that would double your intelligence. What would that feel like? You'd be able to keep more thoughts in your head. You could draw new connections between ideas. You could solve problems you've been stuck on for years.

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Writing your thoughts for better thinking

Writing your thoughts for better thinking
  1. You can hold more ideas than you could in your limited working memory. 
  2. Writing allows editing. Editing mentally quickly becomes exhausting, as the old information interferes with the new.
  3. Writing allows for longer thoughts. Ideas bubble up and pop all the time in our minds and with writing that we can capture them.

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Improve your thinking with writing:

Improve your thinking with writing:
  • Have a written meeting, before your face-to-face one: You’ll be able to communicate them intelligently when the meeting comes.
  • Many problems that feel overwhelming are suddenly simplified once you write them down.
  •  Simply the act of writing down an explanation will resolve the confusion.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Outline/List

Is a linear method of taking notes that proceeds down the page, using indentation or bullets to denote major and minor points.

Pros: it records content relationship in a way tha...

The Sentence Method

The goal is to jot down your thoughts as quickly as possible. Format is kept to a minimum: every new thought is written on a new line. 

Pros: Is like free writing for notes.

Cons: lack organization and notes can be hard to understand.

Works for: meetings or lectures that lack organization; when information is presented very quickly.

SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review)

  • Skim the material for bolded text, images, summaries, to produce a list of headlines;
  • Each headline is then written in the form of a question;
  • Record your “answers” to the reading questions under each corresponding header;
  • Once you’ve finished reading the text, write a summary of the material from memory—this is the “recite” part of the process. 
  • Finally, review your notes to make sure you’ve completely grasped the concepts.

Works for: dense written material.

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Morning pages

Morning pages are 3 pages that record stream of consciousness thoughts, to help you untangle your mind.

The process is simple: you just have to sit down in the morning with paper and pen a...

Prime your brain the night before

  • Identify your most challenging assignment
  • Get through the tough assignment. Start working on the project at the end of the workday. But don't finish.
  • Sleep. Let the brain do his thing.
  • Wake up and dump your thoughts onto paper.

Stick to it

Writing morning pages is supposed to be simple.

To make sure you stick to your writing ritual, wake up and don’t do anything else. Grab a notebook and write the pages.

Note-taking: a powerful tool for learning

  • Notes extend your memories: writing can be seen as an external enhancement of your brain, allowing you to think more complicated thoughts and solve harder problems.
  • Not...

Figure out your purpose

Ask yourself why are you reading:

  • What am I trying to remember? 
  • How am I going to use this information? (e.g. on a test, cited in an essay, etc.)
  • What do I plan to do with the notes later? Will you be studying off of them extensively? Or maybe you’re just taking notes to stay focused, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll look through them after?

Strategies for note-taking

  • Jot notes in the margin. These aren’t particularly searchable, but they allow you to reiterate the main idea.
  • Keep a small notepad on the side, take breaks each section to jot down the main ideas. 
  • Create flashcards. In the rarer situations where memorization of details is important, then a simple strategy can be to just create flashcards while you take notes.