In the technology heavy and overscheduled lives that people lead, it is becoming more difficult to stay well organized. Training the brain and using appropriate technology are among the best ways to accomplish that goal.
Wouldn't it be great to find someone who knows a ton about the brain and technology to help people get better organized? Fortunately, former Google Chief Information Officer Douglas C. Merrill and business journalist James G. Martin have written a guide to the subject that is easy to read yet not overly simplistic.
In Getting Organized In the Google Era, Merrill and Martin present the information in small portions and at the end of each chapter has a list of suggestions titled "encode this."
Merrill, who has a doctorate in cognitive science, and Martin suggest readers organize their lives to minimize brain strain and to focus on storytelling.
"We can't relate to facts, so our mind doesn't absorb them easily. Stories are another matter," they write. "By definition, being organized requires having bits of information stored in a useful order. Putting these bits into order requires encoding them and recalling them correctly. Your brain wants to recall information not as bits and chunks, but as stories."
For example, if you are choosing between several options, create stories involving each possibility to see how each decision will play out.
In addition, they note that while it is helpful and important to have ambitious goals, you should be flexible about how you organize your life to accomplish things.
Advice like this might lead you to believe that the authors have a flair for the obvious.They do.
But that does not diminish from the effectiveness of their book, because they synthesize a lot of disparate information and presents it in a way that readers can digest quickly.
As a bonus, Merrill's background in the high technology world enables him to give readers valuable information on how to use technology to organize the information flow.
Because he is a former executive of Google, he is partial to the products of his former employer and that section of the book sometimes reads like an advertorial. With that caveat, he offers helpful advice about using Gmail. He sees Gmail as "a digital tool for storing, organizing and searching digital information."