“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.” — Plato
Our thoughts are the foundation of all our actions. In order for our work to be productive and creative, our thoughts need to be in order. This can be a real challenge as gathering the thoughts in your mind is near impossible without dedicating think time out of your busy routine.
It’s time to make time for think time. Here are some ideas.
1. Tired mind equals tired ideas
Do everything you can to get enough sleep. Switch off devices, television, lights and all other distractions at least half an hour before going to bed. The hardest thing in the world is to put your smartphone in another room for the night, so I suggest you start by just switching it off. Use a traditional alarm clock to wake up in the morning.
2. Care for your body
Your exercise time can be used to process and gather your thoughts. Try a 15-minute walk three times a week and build up to a 30-minute walk every day. Healthy food also helps your brain to thrive. Reduce sugar and carbs and increase protein and fats.
3. Be ruthless with entertainment or distractions
Limit social chatting to lunch time and tea breaks. Switch off the television for a set period of time each night and use that time for writing down ideas and goals. Limit your time on social media and use this saved time to process your ideas.
4. Wake up early
Wake up half an hour earlier each day. If you’re a morning person this should be easy. Use this quiet time to think, plan and process. Have a cup of coffee and enjoy your think time!
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.” — Henry Ford
5. Schedule it in
If you can’t manage any of the above, schedule think time into your calendar. This one is my favourite as I’m a list person and love scheduling tasks into my calendar. Once scheduled, stick to it!
6. Make it a habit
Think time should become a habit and part of your daily routine. Anything that is a habit will become automatic and easy—just like brushing your teeth.
7. Close the door
No matter where your think time happens you need to do it alone. Close the door. Lock it. Barricade it. Do not open it (unless there’s a fire). If you’re accustomed to receiving lots of phone calls, divert your phone to your secretary or to voicemail during think time. No excuses.
There are many ways to make time for think time. I’ve only suggested these seven ways to help you get started.
One of the reasons business owners or managers often struggle—or fail—is their lack of reflection. They don’t allow time for their thoughts to mature and their actions to spring from sound ideas.
Allow your business to grow by giving your brain time to rejuvenate and focus, and then, perhaps, it will surprise you with fresh, new ideas.
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” — Lao Tzu