We all have to deal with an incredible amount of information, tasks, projects, etc. every single day. The Thinking Blog suggests an intriguing way to deal with all of this: develop a scientific mindset.
Scientists must shift through tonnes of data in very efficient ways. How do they do it? By first defining a hypothesis and then looking for information that either corroborates or refutes that hypothesis. For example, an untrained person could spend months in “boiling the ocean” and trying to read as much as possible, in a very unstructured way, about how stress affects our brain. A trained scientist would first define specific hypotheses or preliminary assumptions, such as “Stress reduces the brain’s ability to generate new neurons” or “We can learn how to manage stress”, and look specifically for data that corroborates or refutes those sentences. Which will probably happen faster, and enable him or her to refine the hypotheses further, based on accumulated knowledge, in a virtuous learning cycle.
This didn’t seem like it would work really well at first, but the more I read it, the more it made sense—especially if you apply it to a GTD way of life. You’re essentially throwing aside the superficial and focusing your energy on prioritised tasks using a series of hypotheses and corroborating data; i.e., “does this session of WoW contribute to my getting those budget projections done?”. How do you process and organise your information? Thoughts in the comments.