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Productive cognitive load: make the most of your working memory

https://nesslabs.com/productive-cognitive-load

nesslabs.com

Productive cognitive load: make the most of your working memory
Students often try to reduce their cognitive load. But some types of cognitive loads can’t be altered, some are detrimental, and yet others are productive.

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Our Working Memory

Our Working Memory

The limited amount of load we can take on our working memory, which functions like computer RAM, is called the cognitive load.

Miller's Law states that we need to limit our cognitive loads and hold on to approximately seven number of objects at a given time.

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Balancing Our Mental Effort

To increase our learning performance, we need to balance our cognitive load. It helps to understand what the three types of cognitive loads are:

  1. Intrinsic cognitive Load: The inner load we feel when we are calculating something complex. This is a fixed load on the brain.
  2. Extraneous cognitive load: Presenting information or a task in a certain way, like visually or verbally, making it easier to understand.
  3. Germane cognitive load: It is the flow-chart constructions of the brain, which help in long-term learning. The mind makes information easier to grasp by creating maps and inner processes, helping us understand better.

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Tools To Manage The Cognitive Load

  1. Grouping or chunking of various pieces of information into different sections, making them easier to retrieve and remember.
  2. Making mind maps or process maps, and also thinking in maps making constructive associations and flow-charts.
  3. Clearing your mind by taking your thoughts out of it and projecting it where they are better visualized. This is also known as brain-dumping, and writing is a good way to understand context, build associations and improve memory.
  4. Collaborating with others using brainstorming sessions, Idea-meets, or creating a learning plan together as a team, confluence style.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Explaining Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)

Explaining Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)

CLT identifies our minds as information processing systems.

When we work on an unfamiliar task, we depend on our "working memory". It is limited in its capacity and period of tim...

Overloading the working memory capacity

Your working memory capacity can be overloaded in three ways, making you feel mentally drained:

  • New routines can prevent you from the ability to do things on auto-pilot and will instead draw on your limited working memory capacity.
  • Anxiety also reduces your working memory capacity, making it more challenging to work through any mental problem that needs problem-solving.
  • Distractions that are not directly relevant to your tasks can further increase the demand on your working memory capacity.

Effective remedial strategies

  • Try to establish new routines and master them so that you are not constantly using your working memory capacity for mundane tasks.
  • It's important to put effort into stress management, meaning eating well, exercising, establishing a bedtime routine, and finding relaxing activities.
  • Focus on organising your time for your tasks and try to be disciplined about distractions.

The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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Never stop learning

Research shows that people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve and this works as a protection in the face of mental decline.

But there's a twist to it: educated people t...

Crosswords

Cognitive activities like crossword puzzles, reading or playing music may delay memory decline among people who eventually developed dementia.

Stereotype threat

It happens when a person is in a situation where they are anxious that they may conform to a negative stereotype aimed at his or her social group.

Positive stereotypes, or success on previous memory tasks, can help combat this negativity.