Improving your intellectual productivity by accepting chaos

One thing I did in 2007 was to ditch my PDA. Instead, I carry a pocket notebook. Almost daily, the best ideas I have jotted down, get organized in document drafts. You must clearly differentiate data and thought gathering from data and thought organization.

Organization Purpose Entry Retrieval Type of support
None (chaos) Gathering Fast Recent past Paper, email, wiki
Good (clean) Organization Slow Reliable Word processors, LaTeX, HTML

This may sound naïve. Nevertheless, I have struggled for years trying to keep organized data that should be ephemeral. More importantly, I felt guilty for how messy my notes were. No longer! Just accept chaos once and for all, just not everywhere.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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