When's the last time you scheduled Thinking Time?
Thinking time are chunks of time where you do nothing more than ‘look out the window’ (as Bill Gates called it). Blocking time out to just sit in a quiet spot (not in your office). The library, the beach, the middle of the forest with a journal. Somewhere where it’s just you and your thoughts. And getting those thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
When's the last time you took time just to think?
A stat I read recently was from a study that looked at the amount of time it took, on average, for a task at hand to be interrupted. What did the study find?
The average is 15 seconds.
People check their phone roughly 150 times a day. Another study showed that people are checking their email more than 34 times an hour. When it comes to alerts and popups, it's a crazy busy world you’re living in. And to counteract that, you need thinking time.
There's an old Chinese proverb that says:
“You can't see your reflection in rushing water.”
You need calm water to see your reflection.
If you're going to reflect, you need to be calm. You can't do it in the crazy, busy, distracted world you live in on a day to day basis. That's the rushing water. What are you doing in your average week where you're asking yourself:
"Okay, I've got all kinds of fires to put out. That's just the nature of business. But how am I carving out thinking time?"
A couple of ideas here:
First of all, time blocking. You should schedule your thinking time. If you wait for it to happen organically, it's most likely not going to happen at all.
Secondly, change your environment. Don't, as I mentioned before, do it in your office. Go somewhere where you can think clearly. Don't bring your phone. Don't even have it in your pocket, because whether you realize it or not, there's an anxiety level when you know you're even close to your phone.
So, unplug 100%. Carve out your thinking time. That just might be where your next level strategies are going to come from. That's where your next ideas and breakthroughs are going to come from.
I want you to, right now, look on your calendar. When are you going to schedule your next thinking time time-block?