Dumbledore did it right! Finding the information you need when you need it
Our brains are great for coming up with ideas and problem solving, but not for long term retention of information and memories.
This is something Albus Dumbledore (The headmaster of Hogwarts during Harry Potter’s tenure at the school) knew all too well. He ended up collecting and storing important memories in vials and analyzed them in the Pensieve (A magical device used to review memories).
“I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.”
Dumbledore also had all the vials lined up in his office, and did not have to go on a mission to find the vial when he needed it. In summary Dumbledore had a great information management workflow!
In comparison, if I had to go recall what I learnt in my Electrical Engineering class in the first semester of college, I am out of luck. Finding my textbook or notes from back then would help quite a lot, but I have no clue where they are or if I even have them now.
In more recent times, I cannot remember, of the top of my head, my highlights from books, articles, newsletters, podcasts etc.. that I consumed. I wished there was a way for me to store my thoughts and memories and recall them in an easy manner.
So I came up with a workflow that works for me, and I have a better system to have my vials of memories and a pensieve.
I had a lot of places from which I was consuming and capturing information that I wanted to recall. So my first exercise was to minimize them.
Instapaper is a social bookmarking service that allows web content to be saved so it can be “read later” on a different device, such as an e-reader, smartphone, or tablet.
I often discover or am made aware of interesting articles, newsletters, blogs etc.. as part of doing some unrelated work so instead of reading it then and there, I just add them…