Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
Have you ever wondered why some things you can do on "auto-pilot" or without thinking, while other tasks are mentally draining? Your thoughtful tasks are using your working memory (prefrontal context), while your repetitive, familiar and routine activities are using your basal ganglia, which doesn't require conscious thought.
Prefrontal Cortex and Basal Ganglia David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz summarize the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia in their article, "The Neuroscience of Leadership", in "strategy+business" magazine:
ExampleYou can relate to this using driving a car as an example. When you first learn to drive a stick shift, it's a lot of thinking and processing. You're using a lot of your working memory (prefrontal cortex.) Once you get enough practice, it becomes a habit and you no longer have to think about your driving. At that point, you've baked the routines into your basal ganglia.
How To Use ThisYou can apply this in three ways: First, when you're learning something new, chunk it up so your working memory can handle it. Second, when you are getting overloaded, consider creating a checklist so you can "dump" your working memory. Third, when you are learning a new task and it feels awkward, rather than get frustrated, remind yourself that you're dealing with prefrontal cortex and you haven't move it to your basal ganglia yet.
PingBack from http://geeklectures.info/2008/01/01/working-memory-vs-routine-activity/
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