Class 20: Why do we need good practices?

Methodology of Scientific Research

Andrés Aravena, PhD

May 9, 2024

We need good practices, because

our mind fools us

We think we will never forget, but we do

“I remember it now, therefore I will remember it forever”

When we see something or learn something, this fact is present in our short-term memory and we feel like we will always remember it

Solution: Use a journal (or lab notebook, or blog)

We think our memories correspond to facts, but often they do not

“Things were exactly as I remember”

Research shows that our memory is not at all a “recorder”

We misremember a lot

Solution: Use a journal

We are bad at estimating projects’ complexity

We think that we can finish a project in less time that it will really take

Solution: Write in your journal how much time you worked every day.
Reflect on how did you use your time

We think that everybody knows what we know, so they do not need explanations

“I understand it, so everybody understands it”

This is the curse of knowledge

It is the main reason why our text is hard to read

Solution: still trying to figure out. Practice.

We think that everything we do is easy

“I’m not really that good, and one day they will realize I don’t know anything”

We learn a little every day, so it never feels hard

But we accumulated learning in a large period,
and it is hard to see how much we have learned

This leads to Impostor Syndrome

Solution: Look at your journal and reflect on how much have you learned in the last year

We don’t know that we don’t know

“Incompetent, and unaware of it”

This is the Dunning-Kruger effect

It is hard to improve if we don’t know we are bad

Be open to criticism of your work

You are not your work

Bullet Journal

For the things that do not work in the computer


Published initially on YouTube, the book came later

Most YouTubers do it wrong: they focus on decoration

The important thing is to use it.

Live Intentionally

Necessary tools

Parts of the Journal

  • Index
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Logs
  • Daily Log
  • Collections

Daily Log

These are the bullets

  • Tasks
  • Events
  • Notes

This is an Inbox

Write it through the day

Key idea: Migration

As in GTD, there is a time for reflection

Early or late every day we:

  • Write or underline the important events of the day
  • Close all completed bullets
  • Migrate pending tasks
    • Next daily log
    • Monthly log
    • Future log

Monthly migration

Future log

Alternative Future log

Eisenhower Matrix


  • Write short sentences immediately
  • Write the solutions of the problems
  • Reflect on your day (early morning or late evening)
  • Underline the important events
  • Keep the index updated
  • Declare your main task every day
  • Decide what to migrate and what to drop
  • Backup taking pictures
  • First journal, then calendar/task lists