A professional life-hacker like Ludvig Sunström utilizes a structured method for writing and thinking. This, e.g., is what he just off the top of his head scribbled down in my comments:
Alright. My favorite strategy for using the subconscious is when I am writing or thinking, and I follow a stream of thought up to a point where I can't make it any further. Then I sit down and quickly write my reasoning down up to that point. Then I write down that question.
If it's seems important I'll put it in my "daily lessons" section (in OneNote), which I review from time to time, and always once monthly. If it's a very important question, or if it pertains to business, I will put it in a section I call "The Questions". And in there I have an excel table with 4 categories/segments.
1 = date 2 = description 3 = pros 4 = cons
Then I write things down there and review from time to time.
Then I'll go for a run, go lift weights, read a book, or do something else for a while. And often the answer will magically pop up for me. But the key is to first get it out of my head, follow the reasoning as far as possible (indicate to the lazy brain that it was something important worth the energy & effort) and write it down.
It could also be that I am one of those people who learn things better from writing. We all have different learning styles. No system is infallible. Mozart, for example, wrote several pages (by hand) per day and left behind a pile of journals when he died. But he never looked in those journals, he just wrote to learn. Once he had written something ONCE he forever remembered it. He was a special guy.
Of course, then there are audible learners like Churchill. He could memorize large segments of lectures verbatim, just from listening. . .
. . . And people who learn by speaking, like Hitler, who had the habit of giving monologues. Because he had this habit wired into him strongly, and because he early in life prioritized his learning, he mostly hung around people who liked to listen. So that he could talk for himself all the time.
That is just amazingly disciplined, efficient and inspiring. Anybody wanting to improve his problem-solving or enhance his writing should heed Ludvig's advice. Check out his blog here.
Contrast Ludvig's intelligent and conscious approach to a con-man, a has-been, a camouflaged charlatan (previously successful in another area) like me. My style of thinking or preparing blog posts or analyzing can be summed up in the following bullet points:
- ad hoc
- lacking ambition
- no method
- no structure
- go with the flow
However, I do like to make lists, just not for decision making. But I still don't take notes or have a schedule for reviewing them. And definitely not several different note categories and different reviewing schedules. I am such a loser compared to Ludvig, when it comes to structured thinking and problem solving.
I used to make elaborate pros and cons lists, but eventually realized that if the choice was that hard then it really didn't matter. For a while I often just flipped a coin (when I bought my first car, e.g.; a BMW) or threw a die. And the times the decision wasn't hard, it wasn't due to 10-5 wins or so, it was always just one item that decided the whole thing, no matter if there were 10 good reasons to go for the other choice. Gradually I learned to quickly identify that one item without making a list. I think it is partly because I know myself so much better now.
But please pay attention to this sentence in Ludvig's comment, which explains why making serious pros and cons lists works, even if you rely on your subconscious for the actual decision: (indicate to the lazy brain that it was something important worth the energy & effort
What I do make lists for is to remember and to de-stress. Anything written down is a problem managed&forgotten or a future solution remembered. Actually, that may be the most important reason why I am blogging, i.e., to remember; to create a repository of solutions and of to-do:s., if there ever would come a time I'm bored (never happens).