December 23, 2011 – DAY 23 | Think Time: How often do you take time to just sit and think? To close the door on all the noise; put on some music or sit in silence and just ponder those things that require your attention? My guess, if you’re like most people, you don’t really take a lot of time to think.
When I was a busy executive I spent at least 15 to 30 minutes every day with my door closed and a pad of paper. I would spend that time thinking about those things that required more than just my passing attention. I had to be intentional in taking this time. My staff knew that when my door was closed and the shades were drawn that I was in my think time. Even now, I will spend time thinking about thinking of importance to me and my business. For many of you, you might already be thinking that you don’t have time for that nonsense. Think time is very much a strategy of successful people. If you’re not taking time to write down goals and then think about how to achieve them, you will likely not go as far as your unrealized potential is capable of.
For me, think time is divided into two segments: 30-minutes of time focused on specific areas of needs and another 15 to 30-minutes of reading time. I don’t always take this time back-to-back. Sometime during the day I spend time thinking and reading. I do not count reading during lunch as my reading time.
To aid in my think time, throughout the day I might write down a word or two to remind me of the things I need to spend some time thinking about. Many times I write down thoughts in a journal to be revisited as needed. If I reach a mental block I might open a can of Play-Doh that sits on my desk and squeeze it in my hands. The act of putting my attention on the Play-Doh seems to relax my mind enough for the thoughts to begin flowing again. One more secret for you now that you’re laughing about my Play-Doh time. When I am thinking about something that requires a great deal of thought, like an article that I might be writing, I might even laydown on the couch, close my eyes and think. I can’t begin to tell you how much mental product has been produced just by lying down and closing my eyes for 10 to 15-minutes.
Reading time is always spent with books and articles that are of interest for me. I do not count in my reading time those things that are necessarily required for me to do my job. It can include those things, but the reading time I am talking about is supplemental to me. It is part of my growth time. Think time and reading time are all about growing – not just doing.
Today’s Challenge: Begin to identify a time that you can spend thinking every day. Make this your sacred time. Turn the phones, internet, and any other distractions off and just spend that time focused on important things. If you have a staff, tell them that this is the time daily where you cannot be disturbed. Make is sacred time for you. Also begin to identify a time when you can spend it reading. Spending time thinking alone is one of the most powerful things you can do not only for yourself but your career.
Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.