Getting Organized in the Google Era by Douglas C. Merrill, once the Chief Information Officer Google. He learned a lot while at Google. Many systems were created to increase internal efficiencies which Google then introduced to the public at large... such as Google Mail, Docs, etc. Merrill shows us how to use technology for increasing working efficiency... as well where paper still has a place. Having to struggle with dyslexia, Merrill in overcoming his disabilities created methods for being organized that help the most unorganized person become perfectly organized.
His methods can be applied to personally organization and enhancing learning skills. In Getting Organized in the Google Era, Merrill establishes 21 principles of organization. It's an interesting read. His style has a conversational flow making you feel he is right there talking to you. Here are his 21 principles in a capsule.
(1) Organize life to minimize brain strain. (2) Get stuff out of your brain as quickly as possible to prevent information over load. (3) Multitasking usually makes you less efficient. Encoding is required for information to stay in the long-term memory. (4) Stories store information in useful order. Use stories to remember. Our brains aren't good at multitasking, remembering, or making decisions. So goals and priorities are essential to narrow down decisions that fulfill goals and priorities.
The fifth principle of organization is just because something is done a certain way, doesn't mean it should be. Who made 9 to 5 so sacred. Our society doesn't function as one set of preset blocks of time. How we work and how we live are conflicting structures. (6) Knowledge is not power. The sharing of knowledge is power.
We all have constraints. Douglas had dyslexia. It can be anything emotional, mental, physical that hinders us. Principle #7 is to organize around actual constraints, not assumed. (8) Be completely honest but not judgmental with yourself. Others who see our strengths and weaknesses can help us be objective. Don't over think. (9) Know when to ignore your constraints. Fear is a constraint best ignored. Control what you can, let go of what you can't control.
The tenth principle of organization is know exactly where you're going, and how you'll get there, before you start the engine. Define goals for tasks you're facing. (11) Be flexible about how you achieve. Some mid-course changes may be required in mid stream. Learn to delegate. Make a plan of action. Identify resources and strategies to work around constraints and accomplish your goals.
What is the new organization and how do we achieve it? Our traditional methods for being organized don't accommodate our individual differences. (12) Today, search is what we need to survive. Don't file your information, use search to find it. You don't need to put email in folders. Search will find it. To get the most out of search be descriptive as possible. Use quote marks around phrases to find that exact phrase. Use adjectives, such as say "cheap," "budget," hotels in search to narrow down categories.
Merrill has other Google tips for using search. Google calculates, spell checks, has a phone book. Search can even search documents in your personal computer. (13) Only keep in your head what truly needs to be there. Filter out what you don't need. (14) Break up big chunks into small ones. What can you ignore; what can you use later. (15) Dedicate time each week to review key information. Merrill uses colored markers when reading to highlight or note important or interesting information to read later. Use stories, use repetition on key information, priorities, identify limits to your concentration.
Principle no. 16 says there's no such thing as a perfect system of organization. Remember your goals will guide you. Use the tools that best support your goals. When to use paper? To get stuff out of your head write it down immediately. Sometimes technology is not available. Solve problems on paper. When digesting a lot, read it on paper. Keep financials on paper as well as legal documents. Paper is great for taking quick notes. Keep important documents backed up on the Internet (the cloud). (17) Whenever possible use tools you already know. (18) Add relevant key words to your digital information so you can easily find it later. Gmail has friendly features to store and easily retrieve information. Google apps has numerous tools to simplify organization such as calendars, personal document storage, to-do lists. Google reader will bring you the relevant blogs, news you want to read.
(19) Take notes to help you shift contexts later. (20) Group tasks with similar contexts together. The brain works better when it can shift from one thing to another of the same context.
(21) Integrate work with life instead of balancing the two. Too much overlaps in life, so go with the flow. Merrill goes into detail with many personal examples of apps and Google helps. At the end of the book, he lists the tools he loves and likes. He says not one size fits all. We all will have certain preferences over others.
Merrill talks extensively about that the way we do things in business and education are outdated structures. They don't fit the era we live in and these structures had origins for a culture over 100 years ago.
"Many of the most established structures and beliefs in our world are all wrong (e.g., 9 to 5, summer breaks for school). Too often we try to make our lives work within outdated structures, rather than revise our structures to work within our lives."
There is a new era with new technology to assist us in living life and doing business in a new way.
Jesus' mission was that... to show God's plans for us are relevant to make us live happier and fuller in our lives. Jesus was the key to bring everyone into a complete, full way of living.
In the Bible, Jeremiah foretold us that God will introduce a binding agreement with His creation. That God will form a new covenant with His People.
"But this is the new covenant. I will make to my people. I will put my instructions deep within them and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. and they will not need to teach their neighbors... You should know the Lord. For everyone for the least to the Greatest will already know me. I will forgive their wickedness and never again remember their sins." (Jeremiah 31: 33, 34, NLT)
The New Living Translation Study Bible (2008, p.1263) comments on this. "It points toward Jesus whose death would seal this new covenant. The relationship between God and His people envisioned in the Sinai Covenant was surrounded by laws chiseled in stone and a priestly class in charge of all religious institutions and activities. The new differs from the old covenant in one primary way.
It would no longer be external to the worshipers, but would now be written on their hearts. The great defect of the old covenant was that it lacked the power to enable people to do what it commanded (Romans 8:3). The new covenant would be internalized through the Power of the Holy Spirit, whose indwelling would be made possible through the sacrifice of Christ (Ezek. 36: 24-27). Thus, it would become possible for people everywhere (not just a select few) to fulfill God's covenant plan for life as summed up in the two Great Commandments. You must love the Lord your God (Deut. 6:5) and Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev.19:18) combined by Jesus (Matt. 22:35-40) as the two great commandments.
In the new covenant, God's role as Creator goes beyond making all material things. The new covenant would achieve the goal that the old one pointed to, but could not reach the hearts of others: creating new persons and a new community. The goal is deep transformation of sinners, beginning with forgiveness of sins and culminating in a holiness exemplified by good works (Eph. 1:4, 2:8-10). According to the New Testament, all believers in Jesus Christ will know him directly by the activity of the Holy Spirit. They will know him personally and experience him powerfully, as only a few did in the Old Testament.
Hebrews 8:8-12 quotes this Old Testament passage to contrast it with the New Testament. Jesus' death brought the new covenant into existence, making Him the mediator of the covenant for whoever believes in Him."
All who believe in Him has access to all of God's Power of Spirit through Jesus who now lives in us, these mortal bodies, to make us powerful through the Spirit that Works Mightily through us. We have this power and love of Spirit as a practical part of our daily activities.