"Give the Mind an Overnight Task" - Reid Hoffman
Reid Hoffman is the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn. He was previously executive vice president of PayPal. Tech insiders refer to him as “The Oracle of Silicon Valley” because of his track record of company building and investing, especially with Facebook, Airbnb, and Flickr.
Almost every single day before sleeping Reid Hoffman jots down problems in a notebook that he wants his mind to work on overnight. He says that “most of our thinking is subconscious” and he wants to use the relaxation and rejuvenation period during sleep to possibly bubble up thoughts and solutions to the problem he wrote out.
Reid says to focus on something you want to solve creatively, such as a product design. Problems that need a creative solution are all around us including organizing a room/closet, figuring out what you want to post on social media, or even how your current job takes you to your dream life. Many times when we are faced with these problems we don’t have the time or brain space to think about how to solve them. By writing them down before sleeping though you allow yourself to subconsciously think and work on the problem.
Reid follows this practice by devoting an hour in the morning to just thinking about the problem from the night before. He says that is when he’s the freshest because he’s “not distracted by phone calls and responses to things.” It is “the most tabula rasa – blank slate – moment [he] has”.
If an hour seems like a long time, start this practice by allowing 15 minutes in the morning to think about the problems you wrote down the night before. This practice is quick and can help you solve some of your day to day problems while you sleep which will allow you to be less stressed during the day. We’ve all heard that phrase “sleep on it” because when you’re in between a decision, you’ll generally find clarity in the morning. This is essentially the same concept, but doing it more than just for hard decisions.
Try this strategy and let us know how it goes in the comments below!
Ferriss, Timothy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers HMH Books, 2016.