I stumbled upon a fantastic strategy that not only works for me but is also in keeping with sound brain research. The brain is an interesting thing. The brain is seeking to solve problems and tasks. Have you ever had an “out-of-the-blue moment” – when you are trying to think of something, it is on the tip of your tongue, and several minutes later it pops into your head.
When you can’t remember something, your mind is going to start combing through files that are inside your short and long term memory. It is on a search-and-locate mission. It is on the tip of your tongue, you’re frustrated, and your conscious mind says, “well, I’m sorry I can’t think of it.” But your subconscious mind is still very active in its search-and-find mission to the point where maybe 10 or 12 minutes later, in the middle of that same conversation, you have what’s called an out-of-the-blue moment. BING! Your mind would not rest until it finds that piece of information.
The same thing often happens when we set a problem or a task in our minds. Your mind is seeking to find the most efficient way to solve the problem. If I wake up and in the first part of my morning decide I’m going to create my to-do list, my mind is now engaged. Consciously and subconsciously, my brain is trying to solve this problem. How can I accomplish these tasks in an efficient way. As time passes on, your brain tries to solve those problems. However, if I start the night before and I write down a short list of items that I want to accomplish the next day, my brain will actually begin to subconsciously solve those very problems in the most efficient way possible, literally as you sleep.
Before you go to bed, if you were to engage your subconscious in what you have to do the next day, from an efficiency standpoint you get up and know what you are going to do, there is time savings right there. However, on a deeper and more fundamental level, your brain has been engaged for the past 7, 8, or maybe 9 hours as you slept to prepare to solve these problems. Your brain is efficient and wants to tackle complex challenges. Your brain is always at work, awake and asleep, on a subconscious level. Why not activate your brain to work for you even while you sleep?
Some of you may say I can’t do that because I’m going to sit up at night, write my task list, and then my mind is going to turn on and I’m going to be lying in bed trying to solve these problems. Now that is your conscious mind. I understand that it may be a pitfall for some. However, you can overcome that problem. Over time, you can train your mind to turn off. Let’s say that you download these items out of your brain and put them on paper and then you have an exercise where you stand up and do three circles and a jumping jack and you physically put your hand out and say “those tasks are for tomorrow, I am now relinquishing responsibility of my conscious mind.” Then your subconscious mind will kick in and take over.
My encouragement — make your to-do list for tomorrow tonight!