For thousands of years, before inventing a way to record our thoughts, humans stored information in complex social webs. Just like we assigned physical tasks to specialists, we also divvied up mental tasks. Delegation was based on natural talent, among medicine men, swift guides and berry-gathering experts.
When pen, paper and print finally rolled onto the scene, we were able to delegate information storage on an entirely different level. Nuggets of information could be tucked away into books for retrieval when they were needed, and as a result, our individual and collective memory expanded exponentially.
Fast forward several hundred years, and the pinnacle of memory delegation is, without a doubt, the Internet. As one article in Scientific American recently described, humans now use the Internet as a form of external storage for our collective thoughts, discoveries and plans. In a huge way, we’re assigning the responsibility of remembering minute details and vast stores of information to the Internet.
It definitely makes sense! Here are several reasons why it’s smart to add the cloud to your cognitive tool set.
Instant Data Retrieval
Before the advent of the cloud, if you wanted a piece of information there was first the question of retrieving the individual who had that piece of information. Now, data can be uploaded, shared and retrieved nearly instantaneously. We can all rest easier by knowing information isn’t limited only to our brains or our social circles, and is stored somewhere reliable and easily accessible.
More Brain Space = More Creative Freedom
Yet another advantage of storing individual and collective knowledge externally is the amount of creative freedom this affords us. Instead of spending more time recalling our own knowledge or repeating work that others have already done, we can spend time on more important tasks, like creating new knowledge and using what we already know to improve our lives. As cognition scientists have put it, this kind of delegation has allowed us to “transcend… the limits on memory and thought imposed by the shortcomings of human cognition.”
Do You Digitally Delegate?
In your personal life, you may readily use the power of the cloud. I know without a doubt that the quality of my own life has improved immensely with the use of online calendars, planners and document sharing tools. Knowing that I can plan, access and share without any worry frees my time for bigger, more important issues!
But to what degree do you harness the power of the cloud for work? If you work in a laboratory, it’s hard to keep track of every single detail that goes into producing, monitoring and sharing your work. Even with sufficient delegation, details can easily slip through the cracks.
Luckily, it’s possible to delegate all of this information with yet another cognitive tool – the electronic laboratory notebook! If you haven’t considered adding this one to your toolkit, be assured that it has the potential to transform the way you do science. All exaggerations aside, ELNs can help you work more efficiently, quickly and more collaboratively.
Check out our digital delegation tools and find the best fit for your needs today!