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Dream Catcher Week (Part 1 – Brain Hacks Based on the Magic Number 7)

The first thing you need to know about the “Magic Number 7″ is that it may be utterly wrong.

The Magic Number 7 +/- 2 is one of the most quoted scientific papers ever written.   It states that the “working memory” of the average human is somewhere between 5 and 9 bits of data.

This “working memory” seems to be similar to the “RAM” of a personal computer.  If you overload your RAM (by having too many windows or processes open at the same time), your system crashes.  Similarly, the human brain crashes when we have “too many windows open.”

Have you ever had an unresolved fight with your significant other?  How is your performance at work on a day like that?

How about a day where you have a great big stack of unpaid bills and you don’t know how to pay them?  How is your performance on those days?

Unless you’ve mastered the art of Zen-like focus, chances are your performance is pretty poor when your brain has “too many windows open.”

Some theorize that this performance-hit is caused by these hard-wired limits of working memory.  And according to a follow up paper by Jeanne Farrington, EdD the actual number of bits we can work with at once is more like 3 or 4, not 5 to 9.

Who’s right?  I’ll leave that debate to the Cognitive Psychologists.  For our purposes, it’s enough to know that this limitation exists, and that it explains why the Dream Catcher is one of the most fundamentally important productivity hacks to master.

During Dream Catcher Week, we’ll run a series of 5 blog posts explaining how to use the Dream Catcher for an immediate, and clearly observable, boost in productivity.  We’ll also reveal 4 brand new ways to use it.

To start, watch the following video.  I’ll quickly demonstrate the most common productivity-sucking behavioral pattern almost all computer users have and how to immediately short-circuit the process with the Dream Catcher.

Brain Hack for Disrupting Procrastination

(best viewed in full-screen mode – viewing time:  2 minutes 58 seconds )

Coming up:

  • 4 new ways to use the Dream Catcher
  • the mathematics of indecision
  • and other pleasant surprises

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