The Overnight Test

The Overnight Test was first described by Linds Redding, an advertising creative director, as a way to vet the quality of an idea for one of their campaigns.

It was a kind of spit balling that would get all of their ideas out on paper for possible inclusion in the final product. Before going home that night, they would pin all of the paper fragments up on a board so that they could review them the following morning. With fresh eyes and even fresher judgment, every concept got scrutinized and either included or destroyed. This got worked and reworked over and over until they had honed an idea worth pitching.

You caan try using The Overnight Test on your own life: first, write every element of your life in a word or a slogan. You should see things like: work, play, hobbies, family, faith, projects, dreams, goals, obligations, etc. Then, use those pages to construct your major categories, the things that are most important to you. Then, sleep on it.

After a night or more, come back to your scribblings and see what you think. Are there main categories that have faded in importance? Are there subacategories that should be raised in importance? Are there some things that you need to eliminate from your life or elements that you forgot to include?

Now you actually have to begin making changes when you’ve developed a new perspective. It may not be a simple change, but the important decisions in life aren’t often easy. Tthis exercise is not a once-and-done proposition. Our different life stages will see a flux in what’s most important at the time. So be prepared to check back.

Summing-up: Use the Overnight test: put the work away, bring it out a day or two later, and we can instantly view it with a fresh perspective. Maybe, just maybe, this will help clarify the important things in life… before death does it for you.

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