The benefit of having your subconscious make decisions isn't so much that it's a better decision maker than your conscious mind (it's probably not), but that it can make decisions much much faster than your conscious mind. You don't have to spend your focus and energy making decisions that you already have heuristics for.
For example, when I play poker, many of the decisions are made by my subconscious. This allows me to make many good analyses per minute, rather than just a few, and to dedicate my conscious processing to the most important factors at hand. It's not that I couldn't do all of the processing consciously, it's just that I wouldn't have time.
In the same way that offloading work to your subconscious helps you make decisions and opinions faster, I've found that implementing protocols has helped me take action faster, and has been a key component of my recent increase in productivity.
When you think about it, most of what you do is the same every day. The way you wake up, eat your meals, go to sleep, approach your work, and utilize your free time all follow predictable patterns. If that's true-- why don't we optimize these things for maximum efficiency?
I used to wake up, get on my computer, and start thinking about what I was going to do for the day. Sometimes I'd have tea, sometimes I wouldn't. Sometimes I would brush my teeth as soon as I woke up, other times I'd wait until I was first leaving the RV. Sometimes I would start work immediately, other times I would go out and eat breakfast. The real problem with this process was that although I would typically do everything I needed to do, I would waste considerable mental energy on planning it all.
Since then, I've developed protocols, ordered lists of steps I take in various situations. For example, when I wake up now, I immediately brush my teeth and put a pot of water on the stove before I open my computer. While the water for my tea heats up, I check my email, twitter, Facebook finances, etc. When the tea is ready, I plan out my tasks for the day (which always include, Blog Post, Chinese, and some SETT related tasks, in addition to other day-specific stuff), and I begin my daily writing. It usually takes me half an hour to finish my writing, by which time my tea isn't finished. So I listen to my daily Chinese Pod while I drink tea. After that I work on SETT or other daily tasks/errands until 1:45pm.
That's my morning protocol. I have a protocol for lunch and for midnight to 2am. Dinner varies a bit more, but still rather constrained. At first having such a rigid schedule struck me as inhibiting my freedom (I started most of this to punish myself for poor enthusiasm for pickup when I committed to two months of it), but in reality I find that it actually increases my freedom. Much in the same way that delegating decisions to your subconscious allows your conscious mind leeway to tackle the most important problems, I find that creating protocols for the minutiae of the day frees me to focus on what's most important at any given time.###
Post is sunset on Hua Shan, but pretend that it's sunrise to make it more relevant.
Ironically I've been off my protocols since I traveled to China. Really looking forward to having a solid 2.5 weeks in SF with no trips to get back on them!
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