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Using 20 Minutes A Day In This Way Can Hugely Improve Your Creativity And Mental Clarity

Using 20 Minutes A Day In This Way Can Hugely Improve Your Creativity And Mental Clarity

Sometimes you may find it difficult to engage your creative side or feel as though you’ve hit a wall and cannot come up with any more ideas. Other times you may get so wrapped up in your day-to-day routine and the stress that comes with it that your mental clarity is a bit foggy.

Your subconscious and conscious are responsible for very important things in your mind. Think about the last time you felt anxiety for seemingly no reason, your subconscious was behind it. Your conscious mind allows you to be aware of the present moment. You’re aware of your environment, breathing, and an object that you’re sitting on. It also allows you to remember phone numbers that you frequently use. Think of it as memory recall.

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Check out this page that gives you a little insight on how important the subconscious really is. Keep reading to find out how setting aside 20 minutes a day can help improve your creativity and bring you mental clarity.

Write down your goals/thoughts 10 minutes before bed

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” – Thomas Edison

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It’s important to give your subconscious some direction before you drift off to sleep. This can be easily done by meditating and/or writing down your thoughts or “requests”, the more specific you can be, the better. It could be anything. From what you want to accomplish, or something you’d like to explore.

When you do this before bed, you give your subconscious the opportunity to get to work on giving you the answers to your questions/requests while you’re sleeping. Not only that, but it helps you unwind from your day. Any thought that crossed your mind can be written down in addition to your requests.

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10-minute morning reflection

When you’re asleep, your subconscious mind has time to look over your thoughts and make connections with your conscious. This may explain why your brain is most creative immediately after waking up. Research has confirmed that the prefrontal cortex of the brain is most active and creative immediately following sleep.

Try to repeat your before-bed routine in the morning instead of reaching for your phone or your computer. Meditation is another way to get the ball rolling in the morning. When you write down your thoughts/goals in a journal after waking up, you give yourself the ability to channel your subconscious and conscious thoughts in a much clearer and creative state.

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Practice thought-dumping; when you write down your first thoughts in the morning it allows your mind to explore a higher level of thinking and creativeness. You may discover new ways to improve your relationships, romantic or friendly. You may find a better way to approach a problem that you have, or you’ll be able to discover a solution much easier.

You create your own destiny

The end goal here is to be able to connect both your subconscious and conscious thoughts to create conditions for yourself that give you the opportunity to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself, give you answers to the questions you have, and fulfill your requests.

Mental creation always comes before physical creation. For example, before a building is constructed, there’s a blueprint laying out all the details. Your thoughts are the blueprint of your life that you are building on a daily basis. Over time, as you begin to learn to channel your thinking, consciously and subconsciously, you are able to create conditions for yourself that make achieving your goals inevitable.

You essentially create your own destiny. Getting yourself into this simple routine will help secure where you want to go and how you’ll get there.

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Published on July 29, 2020

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

Step 2: Make a List of Experts

Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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Step 3: Anticipate the Future

After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

Conclusion

A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

Reference

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