Using your subconscious to good effect

One way of becoming more effective and productive at work is to use your mind to greater effect.

You may have heard Paul McCartney describe how he would wake up with a complete song in his head or have seen the character of Mozart dictating a symphony from the film Amadeus.  How lucky they are to be able to produce such great work with seemingly so little effort.

In reality, luck has nothing to do with it.  What they have learned to do is to harness the enormous potential of the unconscious mind.
The conscious or “front” mind, only works with one thought at a time and it is often easily distracted. The unconscious or “background” mind, however, has the ability to continually process ideas even when the front mind is engaged in something else.  Learning to use this means letting your “systems” do the work rather than you trying to be in up front control.

Everyone’s experienced this to some degree. You may have had the experience of trying to remember a person’s name. You try, can’t remember, then forget about it.  A while later the name simply pops into your mind.  Or you may have experienced going to sleep on problem.  You wrestle with an issue, decide to sleep on it, and when you revisit it the next day the solution presents itself.

The question then is whether you can teach yourself how to use the unconscious mind more often.  The answer is yes.  Try this exercise and see how productive you can be!

First you need to set yourself a time to tackle something – perhaps writing a report, a letter or a proposal.  It’s important that it’s a time when you can devote continuous attention to the activity, as interruptions are one of the main inhibitors to this way or working.

Second you need to think about what it is you want to accomplish. Try not to actually think about what you’ll write.  Simply remind yourself periodically of the subject and the time you’ve set and invite your brain to work on it in the background while you get on with what else you have to do.

When you finally sit down to the task, let your mind run free with ideas and try not to censor, criticise or inhibit what comes up.  At first you may get unstructured ideas that you later need to refine and put in order, but the more you try this way of working the better it will get.  You may even be able to reach the point where you’re writing near final drafts in one sitting.


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