What’s a knowledge management system? It’s basically your notes, organized. It can be a Google doc, paper, Evernote, or in my case, emacs and org-mode.
It started when I was trading crypto. I’d open a position, and several days later it’d seem like a bad idea, and I couldn’t remember why i had entered that position in the first place. So I started to log my thoughts. This helped me watch my thought process and actually improve.
Plus, it just pisses me off when I have to re-Google something I already learnt a long time ago. This happens a lot when wrestling with Linux for example.
But hopefully, dear reader, I don’t need to convince you why this is a good idea (although I lived without such a system for many years).
What I do want to discuss in this post, though, is using such systems to shape your mindset.
I learn so many things in dance class that I can’t remember all of them. So once I get home, I write them down in a text file.
Actually revising the notes is something I haven’t systematized. It already takes a few weeks to internalize a Zouk movement so even then, many ideas in the notes go to waste because you can’t remember them on the dance floor.
It is so easy to wonder: “how much does (thing I want to buy) cost again?” And waste an hour being distracted on eBay.
Or “how do I do that in Linux again?” And waste time Googling that site you knew you went to ages ago.
My computer notes are just about factual information but it is no understatement to say they have improved my productivity 5x at least by preventing me from being distracted.
The only problem is if I have so many notes in this category that I forget that I already made a note for something.
To remember what a specific book said, I summarize it so that it won’t take me much brain power to understand the important parts in the future.
This might not imprint its insights into my brain that deeply, but it does dig up the associated thoughts I had when reading that passage again, without having to actually spend time re-reading the passage. Repeat this over time and it becomes internalized.
Spaced Repetition with Anki
Using Anki to remember facts is straightforward enough. I can even use it to get me to see things in a new light, using carefully written questions and making sure that I don’t just answer the question correctly, I actually hold that thought in my head for a few minutes before finally answering.
However I haven’t figured out how to use Anki to totally change my mindset. Perhaps that only comes naturally after having seen enough subtopics in a new light.
Repeated visualization of a certain situation, and rehearsing how I should think vs. how I would think in that situation helps a lot more.