Proactive vs Reactive Information Management (from Cal Newport podcast)
I'm a fan of Cal Newport's work. He also seems to frequently produce high quality work (multiple best-selling books, consistent blog posts, articles for good publications, and a large number of academic papers).
In a recent podcast episode, Cal Newport made a distinction between proactive and reactive methods of information management.
Proactive information management attempts to takes information when first encountered and put it into some sort of knowledge management system (such as a Zettelkasten), maybe even before there is a specific "need" for it. This information can then be retrieved at a later date, and new potentially novel connections can form between the information in the system.
He states his method of working is more reactive and project based, citing the overhead of inputting information to and maintaining such systems.
Reactive information management seems to be more on-demand and project based. When you are working on a particular project, you go out and find sources relevant to that article.
He also mentioned that over time (if you write enough) you will have been exposed to a lot of interesting ideas, and often when working on a project, a few potential starting points will come to mind which then you can follow to more relevant citations.
One question when using a reactive project based method is what projects to work on? This is where I can see the value of novel connections in a Zetellkasten in generating ideas.
I'm curious what peoples' thoughts on this are?
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