“Think, think, think.”
Do you remember Winnie the Pooh straining his little brain trying to solve a mighty (or not so mighty) problem? As children, we think this is humorous. As adults, we might be envious.
Finding time to think ~ really think ~ about just about anything is hard to do. The demands of life seem to increase daily, and speed up exponentially. We bounce from one thing to another, either because of the expectations and responsibilities placed on us, or because of our own habits.
But Pooh was on to something. He stopped, closed his eyes, crossed his arms, tapped his head, and focused.
“Think, think, think.”
And more often than not, it worked.
How about you? Are you taking enough time to think? It may not be that you have a mighty problem (although you might!). Rather, it could just be that you need to think for your own mental and physical health.
Take a moment and think about the benefits of taking time to think. If you can, jot them down on a napkin or a post-it note.
Can you come up with 5 good reasons?
Now wouldn’t it be nice to take advantage of those benefits?
The problem seems to be that we just don’t have time. Or, at least, we don’t take time to . . . “think, think, think.”
7 Practical and Realistic Ways to Find Time to Think
1. Make it a priority.
Making time to think starts with you deciding that thinking is important. If you don’t believe that, you might as well not even try. But, as you identified earlier, thinking can bring some great benefits. Benefits to your work life, your home life, your personal life. But none of that matters if you don’t decide it’s important and make it a priority.
2. Schedule time to think.
If it’s important, it should be on your calendar. Yes, it might sound silly, but if thinking can lead to that creative idea, or result in solving that problem, or benefit you mentally or physically, why wouldn’t you have it on your calendar? Aren’t those reasons why you schedule meetings? Or time to exercise? Or social engagements? Be proactive and create your own thinking time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes. And schedule at least some of that time during your best time, not when your sluggish and likely to have a hard time to think.
3. Guard against distractions.
I like getting up early. I love the quiet, the stillness, the unencumbered time of solitude. But then I would ruin it by pulling out my phone and checking my email or social media. Twenty minutes later I remember that I was planning to use that time to be still and think. Distractions are ever more abundant in our world today, and guarding against them is increasingly important. Especially if you want to find time to think.
4. Be intentional about taking advantage of thinking opportunities.
When I’m driving by myself, I always keep the voice recorder on my phone handy. Some of my best thoughts and creative ideas come when I’m driving, even if for a short time. The same is true when I’m on a bike ride or out for a run.
A few years ago I was struggling with my own consulting business – mostly just trying to get the word out – when I decided to focus on my blog. But after a few weeks I began having a hard time coming up with new topics everyday. So I started walking. And ideas started flowing. I ended up writing a blog post almost everyday for nearly 2 years. That’s a lot of writing, and a lot of ideas behind the writing. The vast majority of those ideas came while I was walking and thinking.
And, by the way, nice, long showers can also be a great place to think! Just be careful when you try and use the voice recorder. 🙂
5. Take a break
I seem to find my weekends become very scheduled and busy. That’s not conducive to writing, which requires thinking. But I find, when I take a break and keep my weekends completely clear, the ideas start flowing. I also find that, as I just do what comes, I begin finding solutions to those nagging problems that I never seem to have time to figure out.
So take a break. It might be an unscheduled weekend. It might be an entire vacation. Or it might just be that you need to take the lunch break that your entitled to.
6. Get away.
A change of environment can release you from routines that keep you from thinking. Work from home. Go to a coffee shop. Or find a place at work other than your office/desk. Not only might the new environment get the thoughts flowing, it might also be a good way to hide from distractions.
7. Turn it off.
What am I suggesting to turn off? Exactly! There are so many things to turn off these days, isn’t there? Turn off the TV. Turn off the computer. Turn off the tablet. Turn off the phone.
Just. Turn. Everything. Off.
And “think, think, think.”
How do you find time to think?
(please share in comments below)