Maintenance Thinking

December 16, 2013

Maintenance is action based on past decisions, primarily designed to prevent loss. It is patterns of behavior that by definition require no thinking and bring no new rewards. A double-negative definition. Examples of maintenance actions include: Brushing and flossing Keeping work areas clean Renewing licenses and permits Keeping certifications active Spending time in a relationship […]

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The Three Clocks of Trial and Error

December 9, 2013

I am not very good at troubleshooting. I get impatient and end up either giving up or breaking something by trying to force a solution too quickly (for example, in assembling a piece of Ikea furniture where the parts don’t seem to match the drawings). But I’ve been getting better slowly over the years. The […]

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Is Decision-Making Skill Trainable?

November 11, 2013

I shared an article a while back on decision fatigue. The article came up again in a recent discussion, and another idea was raised, this time from the fitness/training world: Acute Training Load vs. Chronic Training Load.  “ATL – Acute Training Load represents your current degree of freshness, being an exponentially weighted average of your training over a […]

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Frictional and Structural Unknowns

October 18, 2013

In labor economics, frictional unemployment is when people are in between jobs, looking, and will most likely find one.  They are unemployed for a time because search and matching are not efficient in the labor market. Structural unemployment by contrast, occurs when there is an oversupply of people looking for a certain kind of work, […]

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On Thinking Caps

August 26, 2013

I’d like a literal thinking cap. A regular baseball hat, but with the look of an orange or yellow construction hard hat. It would say “Construction in Progress, Do Not Disturb” on it. Here’s why. There is an annoying asymmetry between inside-head and outside-head thinking. A thinking cap would solve this problem. Somebody thinking outside […]

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Personality Ambidexterity: Or How to Turn Yourself Inside-Out

August 11, 2013

Fox and hedgehog are related archetypes that form an archetype schema: a set of related archetypes that arguably covers most of humanity very well. Push come to shove, most people are willing to classify themselves on a good schema, and suspend the instinct to challenge the underlying assumptions and fuzziness in boundaries. The simplest sort of archetype schema […]

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Inside the Miscellaneous Folder

July 23, 2013

In any workflow taxonomy for classifying anything from individual to-d0 lists and desk drawers to countries and large corporations, there are things that require more trouble to classify than they are worth. If you’ve done your job right, you’ll achieve a 80-20 split, where 20% of the taxonomy captures 80% of the action in clean-edged […]

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Coincidences and Correlations

July 1, 2013

Most people have heard the admonition, “correlation is not causation.” Few have heard the related admonition, “coincidence is not correlation.” In common usage, a coincidence is about pairs of rare events that have a background relationship within a model. Like thinking about a friend you haven’t thought about for ten years, and then running into […]

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Lagrangian and Eulerian Decision-Making

June 24, 2013

This metaphor is not for everybody, but if it works for you, it will probably be very useful. Writing Tempo has sparked a lot of  fascinating conversations for me. People either seem to immediately get the decision-making model, or find it completely counter-intuitive and bizarre. Some tell me, “this is exactly how I think, thank […]

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Extrovert-Introvert Fog

June 17, 2013

Many coastal geographies experience interesting patterns of fog formation when hot and cold currents mix. There are more complicated ways fog forms, but essentially it is a consequence of a collision between two distinct local weather patterns. It recently struck me that many extrovert-introvert interactions have a similar characteristic. Extroverts gain energy from social interactions. […]

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