Learning Medicine

Learning Medicine
The Ultimate Guide to Study Skills in Medical School

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stuff I'm Looking at Right Now

Hi all, On the drive into work today, I was thinking about how every day, I'm learning new things and being exposed to new ideas. No use in keeping all that to myself.

So I'm going to make a habit of just posting whatever it is I'm reading, researching, thinking about or learning on here for others to see. I might not always defend or explain, but I'm just going to put it out there for other people to check out. Getting a discussion going would be awesome too. So here we go....

 1. Omnifocus: This is a piece of software that is based on the Getting Things Done methodology (GTD). The web is full of adherents to this productivity method, and I've come across it enough times that I decided to check it out and take the plunge. I started when I came to med school a year and a half ago. I've tried it on and off and it really hasn't done much to enhance my productivity yet. But that's mostly because I've given it a half-hearted effort. Yesterday I decided to get back on the wagon. I took the plunge and got a book called Creating Flow in Omnifocus that I hope will help me understand and implement this complex piece of software. At this point, I've spent more time trying to learn this piece of productivity software than I have been doing productive things. But I hope it's worth the effort. I want a system. I told my wife this morning, the ideal system would be one in which you just look at the app and there is no question about what you should be doing at any given time. That is where the stress and floundering we all suffer comes from. When I have a block of time to do something, I spend a good portion of that deciding what I should do. And sometimes, by the time I've decided, my time is up!

I'm hoping that if I use Omnifocus the right way, I'll get to the point where I'll have all my possible tasks outlined and prioritized such that at any given moment, I can just plug in and see what I should be doing. I think that would be incredibly helpful.

2. Food Logging
I'm really getting into self-tracking. My friend Peter has turned me onto the Quantified Self site. We've got the tools now to track so much of our lives. Why we would want to do that? Because when you catalog events and personal data, you can see patterns over time. With that information, one stands a better chance of making positive behavior changes. I'm very satisfied with how I eat, but that mean I shouldn't tweak it. I've been a long time low-carber/paleo adherent. The major virtue of this way of eating is that I don't have to count very much at all. My food decisions are qualitative. I eat meat, veggies, some fruits and nuts. I know the foods that are carb-rich, and I avoid them. I don't bother counting anything.

But I think there is value in logging my food over time. I'm going get my bloodwork done this week and I'll see where I stand. I'll do this periodically over the next year and I'll compare my blood work to my food log.  In this way, I can see how my eating is changing, and what effect, if any, it has on parameters such as cholesterol, fasting glucose, minerals and vitamins, etc. I've even toyed with the idea of tracking my blood glucose, to see if there are any foods that are unexpectedly spiking my sugar (and thus also my insulin). Ii've always assumed that the way I eat is keeping my sugar stable and relatively low, but maybe that's not true? I don't know for certain. I'm not a diabetic, so tracking my blood sugar is a bit unnecessary, I know. But I think it might be interesting for a little while at least. Why Not? is what I ask myself. Now with the automatic USB glucose monitors that track and log your sugars for you, it's so easy.

Re: food logs. Does anyone have any suggestions for good online logs? I could just use a spreadsheet. But I'd like to have something that knows the nutrient values for the foods I'm eating. FitDay looks pretty sweet, but there may be better ones out there. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I've been reading a blog that I find pretty interesting called lifehacker.com. I've looked into quite a few of these like omnifocus, GTD, evernote + GTD, etc but haven't given them a full effort to be honest. GTD seems to be really popular. I found something recently about GTD through evernote and outlook, what it does is you import your email to your evernote (there's a plugin for it) and then you just start tagging each email (@daily @Now @tomorrow) whatever it might be. In that way evernote can display what you need for that day based on the tag and then can sort it by priority, topic etc.

    I think the tag idea is great, it gives context to things that have none and can be really good for organizing ideas. The issue with a lot of these is that they aren't catered to particular lifestyles. I feel that a lot of these are more ideal for working professionals etc with deadlines on projects, meetings, and requirements to reply to massive amounts of email. As much as the outlook+evernote thing seemed nice, I realized that as a student I don't really base my schedule off my email, its just there to get updates/notices. I think this is why there have been so many spinoffs of GTD (like zen to done, 43 folders, lifehacker, etc) because a lot of the time it has to be catered to what you are doing. I like evernote but its not really a to do list sort of thing which is more what I wanted. At the same time though it is really flexible and has way more features than a simple to do list, and it might be possible to adapt it enough where its a useful implementation of GTD with school work. Something else that you might like is this www.actionmethod.com. I haven't used it much yet but I think its worth a look.