Think Tank Time
In today’s world, leaders are so incredibly busy that they don’t have time for what is a vital and necessary component of their day. They are all doing so many different tasks, have so many responsibilities, have fires to put out, working over 40 hours a week; people are finding they don’t have time to just THINK!
I was dining with one of my executives the other day, and they communicated their frustration to me, “When will I have time to think? My schedule is full with meetings and issues and I need a block of time to think!”
Every single one of my clients has this issue, “I just don’t have time to think.”
We need time to think about leadership, development, growth, and to think about our teams and organizations and how we can keep them successful. High level leaders need time to think strategically, not just complete task after task. This strategic thinking and planning is necessary in order to refine and implement our vision for our company, our teams, and ourselves.
HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO FIT TIME IN TO THINK WHEN YOU HAVE NO TIME:
1) WINDSHIELD TIME
Turn the radio off, get off the phone, and use that 30, 40, 50 minute commute to plan your day. If you have a meeting, a presentation, a board retreat, a company retreat, a difficult conversation with an employee, this windshield time is a great opportunity for you to think about what you’re going to say and how that situation is going to look.
Whether you exercise in the morning, lunch time, or evening, use that time to think about your day and your week, what do you need to get done to be successful? Take the earphones off so you can hear your thoughts and strategize about your week and the tasks ahead of you.
3) WALKING YOUR DOG
Get up early and use that 20-minute dog walk to brainstorm and think about the upcoming day and week.
4) TRAINS, PLANES, AND AUTOMOBILES
This shouldn’t be a time to catch up on emails or sleep (of course you wouldn’t do those if you were driving!). Put away your laptop and electronics and get out your pad of paper and a pen, and do some strategic thinking. If you fly a lot for business trips or ride the subway or train for your morning commute, this is a great time to get those ideas down on paper.
5) SCHEDULED THINK TANK TIME
Close your office door and put on your calendar that for one hour, you are busy. Use this time to strategize about new policies at work, new strategies, or pressing projects that require your attention. If you can take an hour, every day, every other day, in the morning, or right after lunch, take that hour to ensure that think time happens. You, as the leader, need to have a good grasp on what’s going on with your organization and teams and the only way you can do this is to take the time out to think and wrap your head around the issues and strategies.
Another hint: you never want to miss a thought or idea that pops into your head at various times throughout the day, so leave a pad of paper and pen laying around wherever you are, on the nightstand, on the kitchen counter, so you can jot down those ideas and thoughts. It’s important you capture those ideas so you can think about them later during your now allotted think time.
It is so important for high-level leaders, managers, directors, every position, to take time to think. We have so many other issues and responsibilities all going on at the same time, but taking that time out to think is so healthy for you. It will enable you to have a plan and strategy for your work, your teams, and your company, and you as the leader, need to have that in place to be successful.