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Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware by Mind Map: Pragmatic Thinking and Learning:
Refactor Your Wetware
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Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware

Take notes

Chinese proverb is correct

"The palest ink is better than the best memory"

Start and Maintain an engineer's log of notes

Design Meetings

Coding Questions and Solutions


Put a marker next to older entries any time you have to go back and use it

Attempting to use flags, Black 1-2, Blue 3-4, Green 5-6, Yellow 7-8, Red 9+

Wonder if there is a common standard/icon ppl would better recognize?

Store thoughts and notes in a wiki

Free your mind from trying to remember simple ideas

Throwing items on an online wiki keeps them at your finger tips anywhere

Tossing random ideas somewhere will add up, You can start to connect ideas together and form relationships, You would normally never make these connections with thoughts so spread apart and hard to recall

Spring Pad is a much better solution to this -

Einstein had thousands of books and said he would never try to learn how many feet were in a mile because you can easily look that information up

Consider the Context

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. - John Muir

Everything is interconnected, Put the problem/thoughts into the current context, You can spin wheels in the wrong direction without context

R Brain


Your right mind, Part of your brain that is running but you are not conscious of, Artistic side of your brain, Intuition

Pair programming

R brain for navigator

L brain for driver

Morning Pages

Will let your sleeping R brain talk to your conscious self, 3 pages minimum, hand written, uncensored pages, do first thing BEFORE doing ANYTHING else

Try different things

Watch a different genre of movie

Read different genre of book

Try new coffee's etc

Engaging It

Use Metaphors to engage R Brain

Drawing a familiar object with forcefulness of not recognizing the objects engages R brain

Ask yourself a question, clode your eyes, comprehend the pictures that come to mind, Try to describe them in words out loud, Use present tense, Gets your two brains talking to eachother, If having difficulty seeing an image, Artificially create one, Rub your eyes, Look at a light shortly

Random Juxtaposition, Po Technique, Take a word from your subject area and combine it with a completely random, unrelated word, Ex: 'Cigarette' and 'Traffic Light.', Concept of using a red band on the cigarette as a stop smoking add

Solving Tough Problems

Focus on a (sub)problem desired to solve

Go take a walk, In an area without having to think about the area, Labyrinth, Simple park path

Try not to focus on anything, Clearing your conscious mind may let your R brain talk to your L brain

Change your viewpoint

Turn the problem on its side/head

Ask the opposite question, If your trying to find a bug, How would you make this bug appear in a few different ways, Maybe one of them triggers an idea

Involve more senses, Alert other senses like touch and taste to try to trigger your R brain to help out, Represent the problem with legos, Use analogies with scents

Define your argument

Can you define the opposite?, Forces a different mind set and a better understanding of what your argument is not or is missing that you may have overlooked

Let thoughts marinate

Rule of threes, Think of three solutions, Think of three ways a plan could go wrong, Let these threes marinate and let your R brain conclude them on its own, Let the answer come to you

Set SMART Objectives







To Reach Goals

Read Deliberately

Write down initial questions that you expect the book to answer

Write the answers as you discover them

Reread and recite parts

If you lose context after taking a break, Read the previous section again, Regain the knowledge that you may have forgot, Gain context for the new material


Practice Meditation to gain focus 24x7

Focus Mediation, Find a quiet place and focus on your breathing, Be aware of the rythm of your breath, the length and qualities of the inhale, the brief pause at the top of the cycle, the qualities of the exhale, and the brief pause at the bottom. Don't try to change it; just be aware, Keep your mind focused on the breath, Do no use words, Do not verbalize, Do not begin a conversation with yourself, This is the really hard part, After staying focused, deliberately take control of you breathing, Lower belly/abdomen, Chest / rib cage, Upper chest/collar bone, NOT throat, Pause for a second at each part and exhale normally, Do the opposite, inhale normal and exhale at the pause points

Stay in Context

Real multi-tasking is BAD, Proven switching context's can take 20 min to recover, Constant interruption can drop IQ by 10 points, A join only drops IQ by 4 points

Distraction Management, Email Management, Set scheduled times to check email daily, Rarely on the spot, Hide notifications, If you plan on doing email, plan on doing email, Don't plan on skimming, Get it taken care of!, When getting interrupted, Durring the interruption lag, Jot down thoughts for cue preparation to more easily resume where you left off

First Steps Check List

Start taking responsibility; don’t be afraid to ask “why?” or “how do you know?” or “how do I know?” or to answer “I don’t know—yet.”

Pick two things that will help you maintain context and avoid interruption, and start doing them right away.

Create a Pragmatic Investment Plan, and set up SMART goals.

Figure out where you are on the novice-to-expert spectrum in your chosen profession and what you might need to progress. Be honest. Do you need more recipes or more context? More rules or more intuition?

Practice. Having trouble with a piece of code? Write it five different ways

Plan on making more mistakes—mistakes are good. Learn from them.

Keep a notebook on you (unlined paper, preferably). Doodle. Mind map. Take notes. Keep your thoughts loose and flowing.

Open up your mind to aesthetics and additional sensory input. Whether it’s your cubicle, your desktop, or your code, pay attention to how “pleasing” it is.

Start your personal wiki on things you find interesting.

Start blogging. Comment on the books you’ve read.

Read more books, and you’ll have more to write about. Use SQ3R and mind maps.

Make thoughtful walking a part of your day.

Get a second monitor, and start using a virtual desktop.

Five Dreyfus Model Stages


needs rules

Don't want to learn, Want to accomplish

Learns by watching and imitating

Advanced Beginners

Can start doing tasks on their own

Wants information fast but not to be bogged down in theory or the simple basics


Can troubleshoot problems on their own

Seek out and solve problems

Can still have trouble identifying which details to focus on


Want to understand larger concepts

Frustrated at over simplification of information

Can reflect on what they have done and revise their approach


Vast body of information

Always looking for better methods of doing things

Heavy intuition, looks like magic, Restricting ability to utilize intuition will damage the effectiveness of an expert

!= Teacher, Can often be a bad teacher, Intuition does not explain how/why they solved the problem a certain way

10 Years of experience minimum