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Debunking the "1,000 hours of practice" myth

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Posted by Dr Andus
Nov 12, 2011 at 02:44 PM


Ken wrote:
With regards to concentration,
>that’s a whole different matter.  No software is going to help me concentrate if I my
>brain is preoccupied.  That’s a matter of discipline.

I wonder if something still could be done about helping concentration and facilitating eureka moments at the level of software. Quite often the most productive aspects of software are the particular practices people have developed in using them, however that is rarely codified or put into manuals and help files. That is why these sorts of forums are important because once in a while people may share such productivity gems.

E.g. the other day I had to move from data to an outline and I was experiencing a writer’s block because the task just felt overwhelming. Even after several attempts to distill things, I still had about a 20,000 word chunky outline in Scrivener, when my final paper can only be 10,000 words. Eventually the breakthrough came by using concept mapping with VUE. Instead of trying to read through the 20k outline again, I decided to visually represent the main themes and relationships on a single concept map. That still ended up very complex, so I opened another VUE document on another monitor, and created a distilled version of the complex one. The two monitors and the two VUE maps allowed for a particular type of reflexivity, which helped me break my productivity problem. I could then use the final VUE map to start a skinny outline in Bonsai. Then I realised, I better create a third VUE map where I actually model the process I used to break my writer’s block (from analysis to outline), so I can remember it the next time I’m in trouble.

It would have been nice if something at the level of software could have prompted this reflexivity. E.g. a “Stuck?” button in Scrivener, which could ask a few simple questions and then suggest “Have you tried creating a visual model of your outline? Try using two monitors. Don’t forget to model the process that helped you overcome your writer’s block and save it here.” Stuff like that…