Mind Nodes - A Blank Page

Mind Nodes - A Blank Page

Eric Gregorich

I'm Eric Gregorich. Mind Nodes is a weekly newsletter where I share my latest posts and interesting articles, videos, and other content that I discover throughout the week.

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πŸ”Ž In this issue of Mind Nodes

Thoughts about the writing process and starting with a blank page. Articles about the Diderot Effect and Delayed Gratification. Working with Β Power Apps reading and writing data to SQL. What I learned so far from participating in the Roam Book Club. I share some quotes from the books Designing the Mind and The Software Architect Elevator.


πŸ–‹ A Blank Page

It's time to start writing an article, newsletter, book, technical documentation, or even code. You open up a blank page. Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you know what you're going to write? Do the words start flowing, or do you stare at the blank page with dread because:

  • You don't know what you're going to write.
  • You don't have a solid understanding of the topic.
  • You have a set deadline that is creeping up on you.
  • You are overwhelmed by the amount of writing you know you need to do.

If you don't know what to write then your simply not ready to write. Here are two things that may help.

1) Create Notes

By creating a robust note-taking habit, we can accumulate notes that will eventually write for us. To make this work, we need to continuously make notes, revisit those notes, and form them into atomic and reusable pieces of knowledge to put together into a and outline and eventually a draft. We're essentially writing over time. And we're doing it in smaller doses.

"Develop your topics, questions and research projects bottom up from within the system. See what is there, what is missing and what questions arise. Read more to challenge and strengthen your arguments and change and develop your arguments according to the new information you are learning about." (SΓΆnke Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes)

2) Let it sit

When we start early enough, we give ourselves an opportunity to allow the "shower thoughts" to arise. Go for a walk, think about the topic for a few days. Rather than trying to write something all at once, spread it out over time. Time allows your mind to be creative and make connections even while you're not actively thinking about it.

"Incubation is the period during which the "consequent fatigue" of the Preparation stage reaches the point of "[having] been recovered from." Incubation happens any time you aren't actively working on the problem." (David Kadavy, Mind Management, Not Time Management)

πŸ’‘ To make you think

The Diderot Effect | When we buy stuff we don't need - Anne-Laure Le Cunff
In this video, Anne-Laure discusses The Diderot Effect. Introduced by Denis Diderot, the Diderot Effect is when we make more purchases for the sole purpose of having the latest and greatest, or a matching set. We can overcome this by being aware and asking ourselves questions. Do we need this newest version? What benefits will I get from this?

The Virtue of Delayed Gratification - Mark Manson
In his unique and fun yet well-researched way, Mark Manson tells us about Delayed Gratification, the ability to increase our quality of life by waiting. Delayed Gratification works because the benefits compound. It improves willpower and only works when you believe you will receive the benefits. You can delay Gratification by removing temptations, reminding yourself of what you're giving up, setting realistic goals, working with your emotions, and hanging out with the right people.


πŸ“° What's New with me

Working with Power Apps

I'm still doing a ton of work with Microsoft Power Apps this week. I'm learning all kinds of things about formulas, performance, Galleries, and connections to SQL. The application I'm working on pulls specific data from SQL and stores the data offline within the app. The user can use the app without being connected to the internet. When they're connected, they can send their updates back to SQL. We're doing this by converting the local data into JSON and sending that to a SQL Stored Procedure, which then performs all of the CRUD operations in the database. We're also using transactions and logging. It's pretty sweet!

Improving my Note-Taking Workflow

I'm participating in the Roam Book Club #4. RBC is a 42-day course that teaches you how to create a Zettelkasten in Roam Research.

My goal is to build a workflow where I can take my ideas and notes and convert them into something reusable. I don't know how many times I've repeated the things I have already researched because I don't have a trusted system to store this information.

I'm only on day 6 of this course. What I've realized is that it isn't really about Zettelkasten and Roam Research at all. Instead, it is about thinking and expressing your thoughts in your own words. The tools do not matter. Roam Research helps facilitate this process because of the outlining and block reference functionality, but you can take this workflow elsewhere.


πŸ“– What I'm Reading

Designing the Mind: The Principles of Psychitecture - Ryan A Bush

"You can then use the method known as Socratic questioning to identify potential holes in your beliefs. Treat your beliefs as if they were someone else's beliefs you were arguing against. Build the best argument you can against them, and identify the assumptions and weak points of your views. What evidence do I have for this belief? Could I be misinterpreting the evidence: Can I think of any counter evidence? Continue to ask probing questions and flag the beliefs which may not be fully supported." (Designing the Mind and Ryan A Bush, Designing the Mind)

The Software Architect Elevator - Gregor Hohpe

"Asking questions isn't a new technique and has been widely publicized in the "five whys" approach devised by Sakichi Toyoda as part of the Toyota Production Five Whys System (https:/oreil.ly/h_aFt). It's a technique to get to the root cause of an issue by repeatedly asking why something happened." (Gregor Hohpe, The Software Architect Elevator)