How does your day normally go by?
Scenario 1: You go through your day on the flow taking things as they come.
Scenario 2: You first wake up, plan your day, go through your to-do list, work on one task after another, workout, spend time with family and finally head to bed.
Leave a comment on which scenario do you fall under.
Scenario 2 is better than Scenario 1 for most professions.
In this article, you will learn how to increase brain power and improve thinking. Using an exercise of deliberate thinking on a daily basis, you will exercise your brain and strengthen its muscles.
This article is Step 3 – What Happens When You Challenge Your Brain to Improve Thinking of Phase 2: Gain Momentum with Routine of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.
Did you notice one crucial element missing from the above scenarios?
What is missing is the ability which sets apart human beings from other creatures, which is – thinking. If you have not spent time in the day thinking, you have not utilized your day to the fullest.
You might be thinking “Am I not thinking throughout the day? I am thinking when I am creating a report, fixing a bug in the code, creating a design, calling a customer.”
Sure, you are thinking indeed. That is thinking on autopilot mode where your brain is thinking about your task at hand. Your brain is at work the whole damn time, even when you are asleep. However, we are not referring to such a form of thinking. There is a huge difference between thinking subconsciously and thinking consciously.
- The power of deliberate thinking
- The process of improving your thinking abilities
- How to train your brain to think faster
- Examples on how to spend your thinking time
- Tips to be effective at using your thinking time
The power of deliberate thinking
So, what exactly is thinking consciously or deliberate thinking?
It is as simple as setting time aside on a daily basis to think without doing anything else. Though simple, less than 2% of the people I work with setting aside time for thinking. Those 2% are also the most successful in their careers compared to the rest.
The intentional thinking is crucial for your growth because it improves your brain and works as an exercise for brain health.
This form of thinking similar to the usual thinking in most regards. A subtle difference exists when you set time aside and force your brain to think.
When was the last time you set aside 15 min to think? On the outset, it looks like the activity will barely produce any useful result.
Try to imagine a day in the lives of the most successful businessmen. You can imagine how packed their day must be and the things they have to attend to in a day. In spite of their busy schedules, many top executives such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Jeff Weiner mention they make sure they make time in their schedule for thinking. In fact, they even attribute thinking time to have played an instrumental role in their success.
The process of improving your thinking abilities
Learning how to improve thinking speed is similar to improving any other ability. How do you improve your guitar/piano playing skills, your public speaking skills or your skill at table tennis?
You improve a skill by regular and conscious practice!
Even when it comes to practice, there is a significant difference between just practice and conscious practice. If you play basketball for hours together every day, you will not necessarily end up as a professional. Sure, you will improve with time but to reach the professional level you will have to practice to improve not practice for the sake of it. This is what conscious or deliberate practice is.
Similarly to improve your thinking, you have to spend time thinking every day. Think of ways to solve problems. Challenge yourself to think faster and smarter.
With time and more problems solved you will be automatically be going down the path of solving more complex problems. If you set aside time daily for thinking, your practice will automatically turn into conscious practice.
Every day involves a new problem to solve. Therefore, you will have a new area to think about every day.
How to train your brain to think faster
Here is how you go about spending time thinking. As a first step, start with setting aside time for thinking. You will have to spend time thinking on every working day. It works better if you choose the same time slot every day.
Trust me on this one. If you do not set aside a slot for this on a daily basis, you will never spend time thinking. It is one of the easiest activities to procrastinate.
Let me illustrate with a scenario. If you are dealing with a problem, you should not decide ad-hoc that you will spend the next 20 mins as thinking time. You might still get results with the ad-hoc approach in the short term. As for the long term, you need to have a slot dedicated on your schedule. You must decide a time beforehand and start with a clean slate. Ideally, it would be perfect if you stick to the same time every day, but you are free to move it around based on your schedule. Once your thinking time begins, you are free to think about anything you like.
Do not spend time worrying about the problems you have. If you are spending your thinking time cribbing and kicking yourself, the activity ends up being counterintuitive. The intention of the activity is to come up with solutions, solutions, solutions.
Examples on how to spend your thinking time
For example when I was building this website, here is what I spent my thinking time on multiple days.
- How do I add more value to the readers?
- How can I generate more traffic and reach out to more people?
- How can I contact other writers from a similar niche and generate more traffic?
This is just an example. You can use it for any purpose you like except blaming yourself, the circumstances or any other negativity. You can use it to improve yourself, improve your relationships, foster career growth or generate ideas. Use your thinking time on anything you deem worthy.
Tips to be effective at using your thinking time
1. Start small:
Start modest and set aside 15 min when you start. After a few days, you can aim for 30-60 min which is optimal to serve a lot of benefit for you in the long run when followed consistently
2. Think long term:
Use thinking time to think long term. Do not spend time thinking about a problem you have to solve today. Not that you should never think about the daily problems, but do not make it a habit.
3. Think about all areas of life
Use thinking time for all areas of growth, not only the advancement of your career. You can spend time thinking on how can you be a better spouse, a responsible parent, a caring son, an impactful speaker, an empathic leader or an improved entrepreneur.
4. Keep internet away:
Keep internet usage at a minimal during your thinking time. I say minimal because at times you might need to look up information on the internet before you proceed with further thinking.
For example, to increase the numbers of users to the site, I use the tool Ubersuggest along with my thinking sometimes. While this is ok to do, be wary of the time spent reading one article after another. The purpose of thinking time is to think, not to dig up information.
5. Do not complete tasks
Do not complete tasks during this activity. Amidst your thought, you might realize the solution to problem X is to send an email to person Y. Unless it is a quick task, do not spend time completing tasks.
6. Create simple mindmaps
Use mindmaps to map your thoughts. You do not have to learn how to create complex mindmaps. You can start with one in the next 5 min by reading on the internet. Start at the center and use lines and squares around. Mindmaps help in pulling thoughts out of your head and spreading them on paper.
7. Generate random ideas to train your brain
If you have time leftover in your thinking time, do not complete unfinished tasks. You can use the leftover time to generate random business ideas or even planning an event that you will never execute.
For example, I have spent some of my spare thinking time planning a bank robbery, building a city without technology and so on. The reason is, it forces your brain to generate ideas and the more you practice, the better you get at generating ideas for a problem.
In this article, you recalled human beings are powerful for their thinking abilities. Thinking is one of the activities most people fail to do because they believe it is not worth the effort.
Your strength lies in your thinking and it is only when you spend time consciously on it you can unlock its complete potential. Almost all successful people do.
To provide exercise for your brain health, you have to allot a specific amount of daily time for conscious thinking.
Once you start spending time thinking, you will reap benefits in various aspects. Your brain turns into a fast processing machine, your career will grow, your relationships will improve and you will be a better person in general. You have to try it to believe it.
Leave a comment on when did you last allocate time just for thinking.
This article is Step 3 – Improve Thinking: Unknown secret of better thinking skills of Phase 2: Gain Momentum with Routine of the 3 phase transformation into super human productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.
Maxim Dsouza has spent over a decade experimenting and finding various time management techniques to improve his productivity. He strongly understands the fact that time is a limited commodity and tries to make every second count. He has extensive experience in leadership in startups, small businesses, and large corporations.
He has helped people of different professions and age groups gain clarity on their goals, improve focus, revise their time management skills and develop an awareness of their psychological cognitive biases.