How Wandering Minds Can Lead to Focused Results

July 7, 2010
Other posts by: Shelley Hayduk

zipperhead“For creativity you need your mind to wander, but you also need to be able to notice that you’re mind wandering and catch the idea when you have it.”   

                        Dr. Jonathan Schooler,
                        
Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind,
                        New York Times, June 28, 2010.

 
The media and experts alike are reporting on the virtues of a “wandering mind” to rise above daily hardships and keep people on course with long term goals.

To break through barriers you need to think beyond the immediacies of your day, generate new ideas and plan for the future.  But as Dr. Schooler notes – equally important is capturing ideas when they occur.  PersonalBrain can help you with both tasks: “productively wandering” and brainstorming, while serving as an easy capture tool so you can always remember your ideas.


Capture
Your PersonalBrain isn’t just for storing information. It’s your conceptual space. So don’t be afraid to create Thoughts and ideas in your Brain for their own sake. Any cool Web site or idea you stumble across should be added to your Brain. There is no limit to the amount of stuff that can go into your Brain. This is also a useful practice to stay focused because you can put things away with confidence and return to them at anytime. Information can be instantly retrieved in your Brain. Over time all these little snippets and additions form your digital memory.

With PersonalBrain’s easy capture and associative linking, your digital Thoughts become a semantic context for information retrieval. This will help you digest larger volumes of information faster and shift focus easily, because each Thought in PersonalBrain is surrounded by all related information in a meaningful context.  This context can further spur new ideas and connections.
 writing_brain

PersonalBrain’s Expanded Views provide maximum context for new ideas.

You can also do more formal brainstorming in PersonalBrain. To begin an idea generation Brain, create the key goal or objective of your session as your starting Thought. Under this Thought create child Thoughts below for all ideas that may lead to achieving this goal or support this objective. At this point anything goes so don’t be too analytic or discriminating. The idea here is to free your mind and capture all ideas. Then you can see where they lead.

For more information on Brainstorming read: No Limits Brainstorming


Connect
New perspectives and in-depth thinking require expansive views and interconnections. The last thing any project manager or artist wants to do is limit their mind and overlook future possibilities. Yet by storing critical project details in linear folder hierarchies we are organizing by separation rather than connection.

PersonalBrain is designed so that any node can be linked to anything else. This flexible linking is an absolute requirement for creative thinking and innovation, just like how our own Brains connect ideas together in novel ways.

jerrys_creativity

Jerry Michalski’s Brain contains over 130,000 Thoughts and connections as published on WebBrain.com

To be effective, information management and productivity tools must capture human meaning, those otherwise invisible, non-linear relationships and associations that impact all aspects of our projects and lives.  Gaining a broader picture of your ideas will help you draw new conclusions and gain a deeper understanding of your work. 

James Burke, science historian, author and television producer of the PBS documentary television series Connections advises to: “watch the news, and every day you see proof that the world is increasingly interlinked. Nowhere is too far away to matter. More than ever, we need to understand how other people and events across the world affect the way we live. Technologies like TheBrain are essential to help us do this.”

For more on James Burke and his use of PersonalBrain read:
Cogito Ergo Sum. I Think Therefore I Am


Wander into Your Mind
OK here comes the fun part. Once you have a Brain with some ideas and possibilities in it you can sit back and watch your Thoughts and connections with PersonalBrain’s Wander feature.  Just go to the Options menu and select “Wander”. Now see where your Brain takes you. 

To learn more on how to set your Brain up for “Wandering” watch our tip of the month.

So take a step back and reflect on your ideas. You will surprise yourself, remembering and discovering ideas that would otherwise be overlooked. This summer in your travel planning be sure to take a vacation into your own mind. It’s free of charge and quite possibly the most productive escape and ultimate adventure.

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Filed under: All Entries | Posted on July 7th, 2010 by Shelley Hayduk

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