It’s the age of technology, and successful people are the new rock stars. If there’s one thing we can learn from them, it’s the little habits and techniques peppered throughout their day that keep them on top.
Have a strong morning routine
Whether you jump out of bed on a morning ready to start the day with smile, or crawl bleary-eyed towards to kitchen seeking out caffeine and hating everything, a morning routine can really make a difference to your day and your life. True, some people are better able to rise early, and some people are more suited to accomplishing more in the early hours, but there are ways that you can gradually build up an effective and efficient pre-work day routine.
Don’t expect to start on day one with a packed morning schedule, but gradually introduce activities and earlier wake up times. Activities like yoga are effective for setting a tone for your day, calming your mind, and waking up the body. Maybe you want to get important but menial tasks out of the way, like a batch check or emails, setting up meetings, or planning out goals for the month. Barack Obama famously makes time for a family breakfast, exercises, and reads the newspaper every day before starting his work day at 9am.
Have ‘off’ time
Being successful and accomplishing important tasks doesn’t mean working round the clock. Along with carefully organizing your time, make sure you schedule in some time for yourself. If you think that the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson are slaves to their careers, you would be wrong. Most people can only focus well for around 20 minutes, often less, and re-charging your batteries is paramount to thinking clearly and efficiently. Mark Zuckerberg shocked many people when he announced he was taking two months’ paternity leave. Spending time with your new family really isn’t that surprising, and successful people need time off just like everybody else.
Our focus with this release is on content analysis and providing better-suggested content.
New partnership with IBM Watson
If you have not already heard, InsightNG has partnered with IBM and their Watson Ecosystem. This is exciting news for us as we team up with IBM to advance our technology stack and bring more robust, value-creating solutions to the market.
With work already started, we will be enhancing our cognitive computing capabilities over time with the integration of various technologies and services from within the IBM Watson Ecosystem.
We are very proud to be a Business Partner of such a renowned brand.
Content Analysis: we know what it is about
Thanks to our new partnership with IBM, when you add an Element to a Canvas and you’re directed to a website, our intelligence engine can analyze the content and make suggestions based on keywords, concepts, people or organizations found within the text.
Virtual reality is a concept that seems a million miles away from being a part of our everyday life. For starters, what will it cost, and will that cost be reasonable for the average person? Underling steps have been taken in the world of gaming, but the predictions for the uses of virtual reality are far-reaching, with a scope of education, tourism, and physical or mental disorders.
With the arrival of introductory virtual reality such as Google Cardboard and Oculus, we are starting to see just how addictive and in-depth this new technology could be. But how can it benefit you in your everyday life?
Furthering your imagination
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you fall, and you are jolted awake by the sensation? This is called a hypnic jerk, and it happens because the brain thinks it is real, despite it being merely a visual sensation. The same devices are in play when you engage in virtual reality experiences. Pair that with surround sound and smell, and you can be forgiven for thinking what you’re experiencing is 100% real.
Virtual reality explores places your imagination cannot. As VR companies are developing technologies that engage more of the senses, entering into a VR world will become more and more real to the person in it. Watching nature documentaries will turn into being in nature; roaming amongst wild animals, inhaling the aroma of nearby plants and hearing sounds of life from every angle. What you will take away from these experiences will be so much greater as your mind was tricked into thinking you were really present. Your memory of the events will increase, as well as your empathy, understanding, and certainly heart rate!
Many scientists argue that using avatars in a virtual world can aid in cases of low self-esteem and even certain personality traits. If you spend time using an avatar that you have chosen to be attractive, you may act with more confidence in the VR world. If you choose an avatar that is younger than yourself, you may find yourself acting in a more youthful and energetic manner. These traits can be carried on in your normal life, and some scientists believe that this technology can extend to the treatment of depression.
If you’ve ever had to plough away at a thesis, essay, script, dissertation, or anything similar, you will probably relate to feelings of worthlessness, stupidity, anger, frustration, desperation, and everything in between. Don’t panic! There are ways and means to get yourself back on track with the finish line in sight.
Set rules for yourself
Your favorite band is playing in your town, you want to go out with your friends, or you just want to sleep a little longer in the mornings – setting rules for yourself and learning say no to things you want to do is tough. But self-control and self-motivation are the most crucial parts of getting your work done.
If you function better in the mornings, then you need to wake up early and do some work, it’s as simple as that. Set mini deadlines for yourself, so you are working towards something every day or every week. If you find you struggle with distractions on a regular basis, take a look at anti-distraction apps like Cold Turkey, or a scheduling app like Evernote to make sure you are on track.
Be tough, but be flexible. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach the goal you wanted to. Going out with your friends is still important to give your mind a break, but you will have to learn to say no quite a lot. Sorry!
Just write, even if it’s bad
In the words of many a famous author, good writing is really rewriting. So whatever you put down on paper first won’t always stay. Just write, write, write. Even if it’s the worst thing you have ever written, get the ideas onto paper, and you can come back to them later. You have to accept your writing will sometimes be bad before it will be good.
With a wealth of information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to know how to sift through everything. Yes, we have everything we need to learn, but the question is how do we learn it? Revision and studying can often be hindered as much as helped by technology; it can be distracting and can make it more difficult for our memories to work to their full capacity. However, technology is continually developing to aid study and revision, and we have compiled a list of the top 5 apps that will help you master your Masters (and other studies).
1. Dragon Dictation
Although this app can be used for anything from updating a Facebook status, to shooting off a quick email, Dragon Dictation can be extremely useful for studying. Using fast speech-to-text software, this app will type while you talk. Maybe you had a quick thought you want to jot down, or after hours of studying, your wrists need a break. You can use it however you want, whenever you want, and you will save bags of time.
A huge upside of speaking your notes is not only speed but memory retention. A lot of studies show that by reading or saying something aloud, you are creating a ‘distinctive memory.’ This means that you are digesting the information twice; once as you read it, and a second time as you say it aloud, making it more concrete as a memory. The drawback of Dragon Dictation is that it is only available on iOS devices.
We live in an age where we have access to more information than ever before. This, however, comes with its own problems, as our ability to remember, organize, and connect these masses of information is dwindling. Visual thinking is not a new process, but with today’s hectic lifestyle it is certainly becoming clear how efficient it can be. You may not be a visual learner or artist, but you certainly don’t need to be either to reap the benefits of visual thinking.
Generating and linking ideas
Visual thinking can help you discover links between your ideas, and even generate new ones with ease and speed. When there is too much information inside your head, it can be incredibly difficult to focus on just one at a time. Being able to map out and see your ideas in front of you means you can see each piece of information separately and together at the same time like you can on an actual map. You can then begin to bridge the gaps and connect ideas, as well as generate new ones with ease and speed.
Time is our most precious commodity – and it seems there’s never enough of it. But this could be about to change, with a new wave of technology which will revolutionize the way we live and work forever.
1. The Internet of Things
Your phone beeps. It’s your fridge, informing you you’re out of coffee. After syncing with today’s calendar your fridge has realised your parents are coming round later – and they’re both coffee drinkers. The Internet of Things is an invisible network connecting the physical things around you. Smart sensors in the devices in your home, your car at school and your workspace will co-ordinate with each other to help streamline your life.
This technology is already here, but only around 1% of devices have a connective capability. However, it’s thought by 2022 around 50 billion objects will be connected, making day-to-day lives that little bit easier and saving us valuable hours.
2. The Laundroid
For as long as the idea’s been around, domestic robots have intrigued us. Having someone (or something) to take over the most menial of chores saving valuable hours has huge appeal. Robot technology is moving quickly and it won’t be long before mechanical domestic helpers – like the floor-cleaning Roomba device – are found in every home.
Enter the Laundroid, the world’s first laundry folding robot. Developed by Japanese company Seven Dreamers, the Laundroid will be available for purchase later this year, taking over a task that apparently takes up a whopping 375 days of our lives. The sleek tower is fitted with scanners that analyse your laundry to decide exactly how to tackle each item. In its current incarnation, the Laundroid can fold a shirt in four minutes, which isn’t exactly fast, but hey – as long as you don’t have to do it yourself.
We are very pleased to announce that InsightNG is now an IBM Business Partner. This is exciting news for us as we team up with IBM to advance our technology stack and bring more robust, value-creating solutions to the market. With work already started, we will be enhancing our cognitive computing capabilities over time with the integration of various technologies and services from within the IBM Watson Ecosystem.
This partnership will also give us the chance for new opportunities to extend our value proposition and eco-system to the global IBM network.
We are very proud to be a Business Partner of such a renowned brand.
If you are interested in machine intelligence, you are indeed living in exciting times. The first wave’s recent success stories are widespread knowledge now, such as IBM’s Watson, Google’s self-driving car, and Apple’s Siri. The next wave looks likely to be more focused applications solving specific issues.
Business interest in machine intelligence continues to pick up as the practical applications become more evident (and achievable). Many technologies are becoming mainstream, such as ‘Big Data’ tools and Google’s TensorFlow open source machine learning platform. Some commentators on TensorFlow feel this shows that we are “at the end of the beginning“.
So far, many of the innovations have been experimental, but we are now starting to see the companies behind them mature in how they bring them to market.
We are very excited to share our milestone release, which sows the first seeds in our ‘global brain’ vision.
New peer knowledge-sharing feature
Knowledge is profoundly social and comes from people, not machines. We’re proud that our intelligence engine finds and suggests information ‘out there’ that’s specifically relevant to your Thought Canvas. But where we really want to go is person-to-person suggestions – the sharing of human know-how from a global brain.
We have started moving our intelligence engine into its next stage of evolution – sharing the knowledge built up within the Thought Canvases created between the people who created them. Our intelligence engine can now make suggestions relevant to your Canvas from the connections your colleagues, friends, or classmates have made on their Canvases.
Our vision is to enrich human life by empowering the world with the ability to advance all critical thinking and to apply previously unforeseen insights.
A common barrier to achieving these new ‘Aha! moments’ is that you don’t know what questions to ask or who to ask them to. We are building a bridge over this barrier by adding contextual intelligence into our platform’s social layer.
You can now create groups or trust communities within InsightNG and add in the group’s members. You no longer need to know who to talk to as the intelligence engine will take care of that automatically, in the background. It’s still people helping people; we are just simplifying the process. (more…)
Today, we have released a new look user interface to our platform which we think will make the user experience more engaging and intuitive. We want to thank all those who have given us feedback so far. Changes to the user interface are ongoing as we continue to fine tune the user experience, so please continue to give us feedback.
InsightNG is built on the foundations of that universal human experience called human insight. It can often be referred to as an aha! moment or moment of insight or eureka. The power of insights is evident in our daily lives.
Dr. Nancy Napier provides what I think is a great summation of what insight is –
“Previously unconnected pieces of a puzzle or problem suddenly fall into place. Ideas fuse together in unexpected ways that make sense, once they do. And that feeling – relief, exhilaration, and euphoria.”
As a species, we have depended on our abilities to encourage and obtain insights on a daily basis. For example, when getting ready for the day, you thought about the people you would be meeting and decided what clothes you would wear suitable for the occasion. You don’t have to think about how you solved that “what to wear today” problem as your mind worked through it unnoticeably fast.
When I first started thinking about the idea behind InsightNG, I knew that a day would come when my vision would leave the back of a napkin and become something real and tangible. That big vision of
“enriching human life by empowering individuals with the ability to advance all critical thinking (so we can make more highly informed decisions, accelerate innovation and gain previously unforeseeable insights)”
has now come to life.
Our first major release is out
I am very excited to announce that our 1st Generation Platform has now been released onto our production servers and is ready for the public to sign-up and use.
As founder, this is a very satisfying moment for me and our hardworking team. We are still in beta and have much more that we will be adding to the platform as we grow and take in feedback from our user community.
Below is a visual of one of our interactive demo showcase Canvases, exploring various aspects of Visual Thinking (try it now).
You can learn more about the features the platform provides by heading to our Features page and for more in-depth detail and description on the features we have built so far, you can check out our version release announcements.