One of the most prominent "ah-ha" moments in the past couple of years for me has been an observation by David Allen about the mind.
If you are not familiar with David Allen, he is a productivity guru and there are whole streams of GTD (Getting Things Done) blogs and resources. (He is also a minister in some weird New-Agey religion, but this comment is a common sense principle that does not rely on his theology for it’s truth.)
What struck me was his "simple" comment that the conscious mind is a terrific focusing and organizing tool, but a horrible storage tool. A 3×5 card or a Moleskine notebook have been a constant companion to me for several years (after I got rid of my DayTimer).
And his principle works. So many times I think of an idea, but unless it is written down RIGHT NOW, it will be lost and unusable, whether it is in a sermon or in pastoral care or re: a leadership issue. That is common sense, but before I always tried to rely on both systems. Some things I wrote down and other things I just presumed I could remember. Wrong. I almost always forgot them (to my own embarrassment and frustration). How many insights into scripture, how many things that would have helped our body in my sermons have been lost because I thought of the mind as a storage tool. IT isn’t. The conscious mind is a terrific focusing and organizing tool, but a horrible storage tool.