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Improving Basline "Natural" Productivity


Alkan

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I am starting a project to really improve my innate productivity over this winter break by a huge margin. I realized that I need to turn it into a research project if I really want to get the most out of it. This article so far has totally blown me away:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201312/meet-the-super-taskers

It offers up traits of highly productive people - strong working memory and an ability to tune out distractions. We all know that the brain is changed by what we do, so, naturally we want to improve in those specific areas:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201203/training-working-memory-why-and-how

Note: that article says play chess. Don't - it could easily lead back to a loophole of game playing for this particular crowd. Err on the side of caution with that one and just avoid it. Anyways, meditation works as well:

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/03/27/0956797612459659.short?rss=1&%3bssource=mfr

And, funny enough, meditation also helps tune out distractions by making you more aware of what's going on within you.

Edited by Alkan
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http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/you-can-increase-your-intelligence-5-ways-to-maximize-your-cognitive-potential/

I thought that this article was pretty illuminating on what does and doesn't work - namely, when you become efficient at a skill, it's not an increase in intelligence. It's constantly being in a state of using your brain to solve new problems that improves fluid intelligence. I.e. if you take an IQ test 20 times and eventually get 160, it doesn't mean that you have an IQ of 160. Furthermore, IQ tests deal with rather simple information:

http://tap.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/24/6/795

Humans are notoriously bad at the things that IQ tests actually test. We'll probably make AI that solves IQ tests long before the Turing test.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/04/25/0801268105.abstract

That one is from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (scientific gold standard, basically), which is referenced in the Scientific American article. However, focus is also a completely different area, and is much more trainable than intelligence.

Edited by Alkan
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Is there a way to increase your working memory? I have ADHD and basically have none. I rely on other parts of my brain to function.

Develop exercises that challenge your short term memory. N back training is a common one I keep seeing as effective. Basically, you have a series of letters. When you see a repeat of the same letter at a specific interval, then you push a button. So, it's really quite challenging.

So, it's not like remembering what a word means 10 minutes later, which is just short term memory. It's being able to hold a large amount of information in your conscious mind at once and work with it.

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