I've an Engineering background I like to read technical literature (college level onwards) quite omnivorously - especially mathematics, computer science, engineering, and medicine. This is part of my larger goal to understand the world around us in more fundamental terms.
For the past few years I've read through some of the above mentioned stuff in my free time. The goal is not to memorize something for coursework, etc. but to reflect upon it and understand how they fit into the "real" world. I also like to fit each newly encountered fact into my existing store of knowledge and see whether I can create a coherent picture. Here are some productivity problems I've encountered for which I'd like your suggestions:
- I've always had knowledgeable friends and colleagues who feel that people are born with a natural talent for one task (say programming) and this means that you can't or shouldn't master something else. This affects my perception of the world very profoundly despite knowing that it's specious reasoning, and has been a pervasive problem.
- Many people with whom I try to discuss these things often tolerate only one viewpoint, to the exclusion of several, compatible ones gathered from across disciplines. This means that I can't jump around the way I'd like to and gives me a very big incentive to be a "one-trick pony". (I've partly addressed this problem by becoming an active member at 10+ SE sites!)
- I've come to realize that it takes a huge amount of time to distill several pieces of data in your mind, and see the big picture in a very occasional flash. It's quite discouraging that I can't do this consistently, every day - expertise seems to be built incrementally and not in leaps. I keep wondering whether I should be "working smart" in some way.