I was having dinner with some colleagues last night, and toward the end, one of them said to me, “I’ve noticed a theme when you describe your life. You seem to make time to think.”
“That true, but it wasn’t always so,” I replied.
“Most of my working life I only made time to do, not think. But that left me with a vague, uneasy feeling that most things could have been done better if only I’d had more time. Instead of being excellent, I was simply getting by in many areas of life. I don’t want that anymore.”
While I’m far from perfect, I’ve found two changes helped me get my thinking time back.
First, I get up earlier each day.
Once my family is awake, my time isn’t my own. So, I get up at 4:55 am each morning to read, write, drink coffee, and think. This lasts 60-90m.
Second, I write regularly.
I started this email list because I heard it was a good marketing strategy.
I continued it because it forces me to sit down and think each day deeply.
Through writing to you, I have come to know what I believe, and see new perspectives on the world.
That’s not the way I thought it would work. I thought I’d write about what I knew. Instead, I found what I knew by writing.
You might say that I “think through writing” because the process of writing is my thinking process.
I didn’t expect that benefit, but it’s the reason I will continue writing.
As a leader, you need thinking time – and you have to find what works for you to get it.
I don’t know if these ideas are helpful for you, but I can say that I am happier with my life since I set aside time to think. And, I think I do better work and am more satisfied with the outcomes.
Is this something you struggle with too?