Taming the TMI Beast
07 July 2019
“AAAAAAA, THERE IS TOO MUCH INFORMATION!” - me, every day
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:
- What input/output structures are optimal for scrnaseq workflows spanning multiple labs?
- What do I cook next week, factoring in my health, food costs, and personal tastes?
- What’s the most effective way to teach the 9 newcomers in the musical group I’m in?
- What should I do with my last job’s 401K, considering the fees are too high?
- Where should I take a friend to see music next week, factoring in cost, their musical preferences, and schedule constraints?
- How do I make sure I get my work done, prioritize my health, spend time with friends, play music, sleep enough, and leave time to be spontaneous? How do I do this in a low-stress way?
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:
- Money - I can’t afford a personal assistant, chef, or to quit my job.
- Time - Most of my hours are spoken for.
- Focus - I must optimize for my median brainpower, not my full capacity.
- 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…
- Ability - Enable me to do what I want to do at any time, with the minimum amount of structure or interruptions.
- Search - Enable me to find all the information I need, and only the information I need, in less than 10 seconds
- Additions - Be able to add new information or structures in less than 30 seconds
- Routines - Enable me to adopt, reflect, and change processes/habits with minimal effort.
- Change - Be portable, so I can shift my information to other tool(s) with minimal effort
- 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.