Time to Think – Is It Worth It?
How often do you take the time to just think?
I don’t mean a momentary pause before you make a big decision.
How often do you take the time to sit with your thoughts, without distraction, to come up with new ideas, and to reflect on your personal goals and achievements?
If you’re like the majority of busy senior leaders the answer is probably not often – if ever.
Leaders are often known for their keen minds that able to get to the heart of a situation. Yet leaders rarely get the chance to put that mind to use on any one topic for more than a few minutes at a time.
You’re always thinking, but rarely thinking deeply or allowing yourself enough time to come up with the truly creative and inspired solutions and ideas that you’re capable of.
Making time to think can give you a competitive edge as a leader, so why don’t leaders do more of it?
Why don’t leaders make more time to think?
We value busyness. Anyone sat gazing out of the window, lost in thought is considered to be unproductive. When, in fact, they may just be the most effective and productive person in the building – precisely because they take the time to think.
Of course, gazing out of the window and planning your evening meal or your next holiday isn’t going to improve your leadership practice. But allowing your mind free reign over your current work challenges can help you get the results you need. The trick is to sit and think without forcing yourself to do anything else.
Allowing yourself this time could be just what you need to come up with creative solutions and clear out some of your mental clutter.
The key things leaders should make the time to think about
As a leader, there’s a lot of focus around strategy, systems and meeting key performance indicators – it’s essential to keep the organisation achieving and moving forward. However, when do you invest the same amount of time and energy in yourself?
Setting aside regular time to consider the following points can dramatically boost your personal effectiveness.
- Your achievements – what have you and your team achieved? What’s working really well, and what’s not working well?
- Your values – are you living your values at work?
- Your energy – where do you spend your time, and is the balance right?
- Your strengths – are you being fully utilised for your strengths?
- Your priorities and goals – are you focusing on ‘stuff’ or are you adding value and working towards your goals?
- Your development – what areas of your development do you need to invest in? Who on your teams needs additional development, or are ready for more responsibility? How can you facilitate that?
It may be that you feel you do spend time thinking about these things. But are you thinking about them deeply?
Why it’s deep thinking that matters
Deep thinking involves asking questions and testing out the robustness of your ideas in your mind. It requires both time and discipline, but it’s well worth the investment.
In many situations when we experience a challenge, we identify a viable solution and then forge ahead with that initial idea. When you think deeply, you look at the issue from various angles, challenge your own assumptions and identify alternative options.
Deep thinking requires you to consider the end-to-end impact and long term benefits or shortfalls of your idea. You don’t fall back on easy options, and you don’t dismiss an idea without examining it closely.
Deep thinking allows you to break the cycle of constantly acting and reacting quickly and without deep thought. This act/react cycle is easy to fall into when you’re busy, and it can feel effective at the time because it’s fast. Unfortunately, it’s often a false economy because without applying deep thinking to challenges and issues, you’re probably missing the most effective solutions.
Are you ready to make more time for thinking and start seeing results? Why not book in today for one of my coaching calls to see how I can help you step into your success as a leader?