Taming the TMI Beast

07 July 2019


The world has ever-increasing amounts of information. It’s a monster, useful if trained, and detrimental otherwise.

What I do depends on what I know at the time. For example, here are my info-centric questions from last week:

When in Doubt, Generalize

Last week’s questions generalize to a few topics: intelligence augmentation, information retrieval, external memory, and habit formation.

Along with higher-level topics, I can generalize my constraints:

  1. Money - I can’t afford a personal assistant, chef, or to quit my job.
  2. Time - Most of my hours are spoken for.
  3. Focus - I must optimize for my median brainpower, not my full capacity.
  4. Inertia - I can change quickly, easily, or a lot…pick two.


Knowing the problem and background, I want goals. What would a solution to TMI look like? Funny you should ask…

  1. Ability - Enable me to do what I want to do at any time, with the minimum amount of structure or interruptions.
  2. Search - Enable me to find all the information I need, and only the information I need, in less than 10 seconds
  3. Additions - Be able to add new information or structures in less than 30 seconds
  4. Routines - Enable me to adopt, reflect, and change processes/habits with minimal effort.
  5. Change - Be portable, so I can shift my information to other tool(s) with minimal effort
  6. Privacy - Serve only me. I want minimal risk that this information will be used against me in the future.

I want to organize my information, and make it optimally useful at minimal cost.*

In future posts I will go over the different tools, habits, and topics I worked through to build my current information scaffolding. Stay tuned!

* - Yes, I based my goal on Google’s mission statement.