Think About It!
Everyone needs some space in their business for thinking.
If you're always on the move, completing one task after another, strategy suffers and you can lose your direction.
Take some time out to just think.
Use this time to review projects and reflect on what went well and what didn't. Or think about opportunities that are available to you right now.
Consider the choices you've made recently. What worked out well, and what would you change about them? Are there aspects of your behavior you want to look at? Are you doing anything habitually or automatically that you'd like to shift?
You don't have a sit on a rock with your chin on one fist, the way the sculptor Rodin pictured it. Thinking can be done at your desk, or on a walk. You might take a drive. Being in a natural setting, near a river, flowing water, or among trees, is often really helpful.
This is a great opportunity to have unstructured time. You can allow your brain to go wherever it wants to. Look around you, and what you see can stimulate different avenues of approaching a problem or might spark ideas about a new offering.
You can also stimulate your creativity in this unstructured time by doing something completely different from what you normally do. You can paint that portrait of the dog you've been meaning to do, or do some exercise that you enjoy. The key is to not engage your brain too much with other things. Let your thoughts focus instead on what is most on your mind for you right now in your business.
What's on your mind can be a new direction that is calling you, that you haven't taken the time to think through. Where could it take you? Is it in alignment with your mission (your overarching purpose, your Big Why)? Is it in harmony with what I call your Pull Priorities (your values and the characteristics you want to bring to your business)? Is it something you want to do? What would the next step be?
You'll want to write down or record what you think about. Bring along your journal, or use the computer to make notes. One option is to record your thoughts by talking through them (iTalk is a great free app you can download and use on your phone).
However you do it, take note of where your brain wanders. You might not remember later, and this time can be incredibly valuable.
Your thinking time can also be used for strategizing. One of the things that I see most often in new clients that holds them back is the absence of an overall strategy. Having a strategy creates coherence in your business, and ensures you stay on track. The most brilliant business people have a clear direction behind every single thing they do. That makes their time focused, and creates the greatest impact.
It's the way to most effectively manifest your mission, your Big Why.
How often should you take time out to just think? Ideally, you take a little time every day for reflection, just 5 or 10 minutes. One reason we fall into well-worn patterns is that we don't stop and reflect on our day. Each day adds to the next and together they make up our work lives, so it's worth investing this time daily.
At least build thinking time into every week. That allows you to stay on top of new opportunities and ensures that you stay on course.
In addition to daily reflection time, I also leave the office early one afternoon most weeks, and just wander. I call it my Nomad Time, because my experience of being a full-time nomad with lots of time to think was so fruitful, and enjoyable. I go wherever I'm being called in the moment. It often involves driving, which for me is always great thinking time.
If your week gets away from you, schedule time the next week to just think. Putting it in your calendar will ensure that you have the time blocked off to do it.
Your thinking time is your own. Let everyone around you know that this time is sacred. You're not available for phone calls, texts, or email.
This time is like an empty container. Leaving that space open invites something new to fill it.
There's a story of a Zen master who teaches his stud