Productivity Improvement Ideas: A 10-Minute Routine
Our subconscious mind never stops. Every breath, every heartbeat, every time our bodies digest a meal, we can thank our subconscious. Therefore, what happens in the subconscious state inevitably affects the conscious state. As voiced by American author Earl Nightingale, “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” Thus, it is to our advantage to guide and direct our subconscious in order to improve productivity and well-being.
An effective way to harness the power of our subconscious mind to think clearly, solve difficult problems and tap into the creative juices is as simple as a 10-minute routine. That’s right — just 10 minutes every morning and evening. Different people have different takes on the 10-minute routine. Some people utilize their 10 minutes for goal-making; others, such as Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah Winfrey, enjoy taking the time to reflect on what they are grateful for.
Here’s how it works:
10 Mins Before Sleep
Ending the day on the right note is essential to a good night’s sleep, eliminating negative thought loops and learning more about yourself: your strengths and abilities. Before your head hits the pillow, write down three things that made you smile during the day. Then think of one thing that you would do differently. Write it down as if you could turn back the clock and do it the way you would have liked to. Key point: actually write it down! This will allow your thoughts to be more clear.
10 Mins After Waking Up
Although you may be feeling quite the opposite in the morning, numerous studies confirm that the prefrontal cortex of the brain is most active, creative, and alive just after you wake up from your slumber. While your body has been resting, your mind has been very much awake, making contextual connections and increasing the strength of millions of neural pathways.
Begin the day right! Start your day on the right note and things automatically fall into place. Write down three things you want to accomplish in the day. Maybe you are searching for a new creative way to market your brand, finish a business proposal or simply call up a friend and have a quick chat. Then, write down three things you are grateful for. They can be as simple as a cup of hot tea, good health or the hug your little ones give you when you come home. A conscious appreciation of the gifts in our lives creates increased activity in brain regions involved with the neurotransmitter dopamine, the ‘happiness’ neurotransmitter, as well as higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus; the hypothalamus controls a wide variety of critical bodily functions, such as sleeping, eating, drinking, stress levels, etc. Knowing this, it becomes much clearer how improvements in gratitude levels have such strong correlations with decreased depression, improved sleep, and fewer pains in the body.
10-Minute Master: John Waitzkin
Known for his incredible chess and jiu-jitsu skills, John Waitzkin chooses to engage in something called “thought-dumping” right after his eyes open in the morning. This way, he can capitalize on all the previous night’s brain activity. Thought-dumping is not too tricky to figure out; it is, quite literally, dumping all of your thoughts onto paper. Your brain has been up all night working and processing different questions, ideas, thoughts, that you wrote down before catching some Z’s. Once you wake up, you become conscious of these ideas, so grab a journal and a pen, refer back to what you wrote down last night, and write with your flow of consciousness.
In Waitzkin’s interview, he discusses the idea of input versus output. While many people in the world focus on the input from their devices as soon as they wake, Waitzkin focuses on output, the creativity and thoughts that the subconscious mind has allowed him to tap into. This is how Waitzkin, chess prodigy, black-belt holder, Tai Chi world champion, taps into a higher domain of creativity and clear ideas.
This simple 10-minute routine is a chance to find clarity and tap into our unconscious potential. Together, let’s put down our phones, and open up our journals and minds. Thankfully, today’s office spaces understand the importance of snooze time during the work day. For example, you can look out for coworking spaces for rent with nap rooms or private wellness booths for employees who need to tap out every now and then.
Interested to know more about the importance and power of sleep? Click here.