# Effective tool circumvents human limits
Humans are constrained by biological limits, and one way we could circumvent these limits is by the use of tools. Usain Bolt can’t outrun a domestic cat, but you could be faster than a domestic cat by riding a bicycle.
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 20).
And if I were forced to boil it down to a single bullet point, it would be this: We need a reliable and simple external structure to think in that compensates for the limitations of our brains.
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 29).
Good tools do not add features and more options to what we already have, but help to reduce distractions from the main work, which here is thinking. The slip-box provides an external scaffold to think in and helps with those tasks our brains are not very good at, most of all objective storage of information.
- Writing makes thinking possible
- We need a good method to think because we have Working memory limits. If Effective tool circumvents human limits, we need to find a tool that circumvents our working memory limit. The tool, or method of thinking that has been proven by science is note-writing. Many would think that writing helps our thinking, but contemporary handbook of neuroscientists argues that writing is what makes thinking possible. Scientists with different specialisation, like psychologists, educators, or philosophers, may disagree on how our brain works, but most of them agree that real thinking will require a form of writing (Ahrens 95-96).
- Effective workflow should break tasks down by attention types
- Effective tool circumvents human limits, therefore we have to understand what limit we are faced with if we want to make a workflow more effective. Especially in a creative work, Only one type of attention can be given to one thing at one time. Given the limit of attention we have, an effective workflow should break task down into smaller chunks by different attention types.
- Understanding attention helps design control panels in cars and airplanes
- Good example of how Effective tool circumvents human limits. But to understand how we circumvent our limit, we need to understand what these limits are first. (Knowledge workers are limited by their cognitive processes).
- §What's top of mind
- Defining atomic workflow because Effective tool circumvents human limits.