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The Faster Paradox: part one of three

Going Slower To Go Faster In order to work faster and more efficiently, we need to use our brainpower to overcome some of our human limitations. Much like the technology that surrounds us, we have  hardware (our physical brain) and software (our thinking patterns and ways of doing things). In order to optimize this fantastic machine in our heads, we need to follow some important rules:

1. Use technology as your “storage brain.” 2. Turn off your productivity switch regularly. 3. Remember the faster paradox.

Your storage brain

Your computer is an extension of your physical brain. Using it well can help you optimize your own thinking. It can hold memories your brain doesn’t have room for! To-do lists, creative ideas, client information, communication histories: All of those things are stored in your “storage brain.” When you use your storage brain effectively, you can let go of the information you are not using in the moment, and free your brain for complex thinking operations.

Alan, a vice president of advertising sales at a film and television studio, is intensely proud of his ability to remember peoples’ names and faces, and details about their lives. He has a trick, however: After he meets someone, he writes notes in his computer about them, and he reviews those notes before he speaks with them again. It’s a great way for Alan to augment his memory, and he uses it effectively.

As we progress into the future, we will become more and more linked to technology. Ask yourself now how much technology you use to supplement your thinking every day. Do you think of things like your Blackberry or Palm, your personal computer, your cell phone? Mind-mapping software can help organize ideas visually on a page. The software lets your mind wander and think in a way that standard list-making doesn’t. You can use it to lay out your work schedule, brainstorm ideas and recall information from a seminar or speech. Another storage-brain tool is a digital camera or camera phone. Take pictures of things you want to remember, such as flip charts at a meeting. It’s important to take great care with your technology, including having a disaster plan for a power failure and backing up your information systems. We all know it’s important, but would you let your real brain have a power outage?

Visit Karlin Sloan’s Good Business blog next Wednesday for part two of this three part series.

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