In my ministry growth and development, I stumbled upon a fantastic strategy. It not only works for me, but is also in keeping with verified brain research. The brain is an interesting organ—it’s constantly seeking to solve problems and tasks. Have you ever had a moment when you’re trying to remember something, it’s on the tip of your tongue, and then several minutes later it pops into your head? When you can’t remember something, your mind starts combing through files in your short- and long-term memory. It goes on a search-and-locate mission. Even when your conscious mind can’t grasp onto the fact, your subconscious mind is still very active. Maybe 10 or 12 minutes later, you have what’s called an “out-of-the-blue moment.” BING! Your mind wouldn’t rest until it found that piece of information.
The same thing happens when we try to solve a problem or complete a task: your mind seeks to find the most efficient way to solve the problem. If I wake up and create my to-do list first thing in the morning, my mind begins trying to solve the problems in the list. However, if I start the night before by writing that same list, my brain starts to subconsciously solve those very problems in the most efficient way possible, literally as I sleep.
Before you go to bed, if you engage your subconscious in regards to what you’re planning to do the next morning, your efficiency improves. You save time. On a more fundamental level, your brain has already been engaged for the past 7-9 hours in preparation to solve your problems—it’s ready to tackle complex challenges as soon as you roll out of bed! Your brain is always at work 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—I’m going to write my task list, and then I’ll lie in bed all night thinking about those things!” That is your conscious mind. I understand that this 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 you “download” your to-dos out of your brain and onto paper; then, you have an evening routine that helps your conscious mind to say, “Those are tasks for tomorrow. I am relinquishing responsibility out of my conscious mind.” When you put routines and rhythms like this into place, eventually, your subconscious mind will kick in and take over.
My encouragement to you is to make tomorrow’s to-do list tonight!
Josh Denhart is a children's ministry curriculum writer and children's ministry performer. Josh is a seasoned educator with BA in Chemistry Education, a MA in Effective Instruction, and earned National Board Certification in Young Adult and Adolescent Science. As a former High School chemistry teacher, Josh melded his love for Science and Christ, creating “The Amazing Chemistry Show”, a traveling gospel-centered stage show with fire, explosions and foam. Carrying this Ministry of Chemistry even further, Josh created “Science VBS”, an internationally celebrated Vacation Bible School curriculum.
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