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BLOGThought for the Day

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Professional Development, Time managementTagged as:

How much time do you spend just thinking? If you’re like most people, most of your time is spent running from meeting to meeting, responding to urgent requests, urgent deadlines, and emergencies. When we’re relaxing, we’re checking our email, voicemail, or answering our cell phones. When we’re exercising, we’re either watching CNN or listening to music on our smartphones.

We’re great at multi-tasking (or so we think), and we’re great at making snap decisions (we hope), but what about those decisions and issues that require deeper reflection? By default or by design, most of us have little actual opportunity to sit and think.

Certainly as we consider our professional success, there are many tough questions that are worthy of exploration:

  • What am I really good at professionally, and how can I do more of this type of work?
  • How can I step back on the learning curve?
  • What does the perfect work-life balance mean to me?
  • Am I happy with my personal relationships, and what can I do to improve them?
  • What community(s) am I part of? How can I make a bigger difference there?

Of course, there are dozens of other questions that you might consider, but start with these. Reflecting on these tougher questions gives us greater confidence when we’re forced to respond quickly on other issues. Some suggestions for productive thinking:

  • Choose a location that is free of distraction or interruption.
  • Schedule a specific time – perhaps each day, perhaps each week – to do nothing but think.
  • The act of writing your thoughts down often can clarify them.
  • Explain your thinking to a a trusted confidante for perspective.

Thinking time gives us a break from the urgent, and an opportunity to recharge. It allows us to be creative, which can’t be done well under deadline. And of course, we benefit from the product of our thoughts.

THIS WEEK’S ACTION PLAN

Schedule time in to think – that’s it. While it may seem obvious, thinking is a skill like any other – the more you do it, the better you get at it.

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