In the busy schedule of everyday life full of work and family commitments, it can be hard to fit in time to do something for yourself. We often feel guilty about taking time out, even for our personal care necessities, like taking a little exercise or stopping to eat a proper lunch. We are driven not only by necessity and the demands of a packed diary, but also by the pervasive present day cultural belief (especially in business), that busy people are successful people, put another way, we can’t be successful if we are not constantly busy. We feel that we ought to be fully occupied and ‘doing’ every minute of every day.
Yet some of the greatest inventions, achievements and advances have been made by people when they were not ‘doing’, but when they were thinking. Every conceivable achievement began with an idea and it is not easy to come up with an idea when we are continually bamboozling our brains with tasks.
One of the most innovative thinkers of our time, Bill Gates, made a ritual of taking a time out, twice a year, during which he did nothing but read, review and reflect on his business. He called this period of seclusion a Think Week. We all know how well his business turned out!
If you are thinking that we lesser mortals would be lucky to get an hour of time out, let alone a week, I am entirely in agreement with you! With the recent addition of a third child to my family, it may seem pretty ambitious. Especially since I never managed much time out when I only had two kids, not three and one of them now comes with all the demands of a newborn.
Still, I am determined! I really feel that the busier I am, the more vital it is that I dedicate some time to creative thinking for the continued success of my business — modest as it might be in comparison to Bill Gates’ — yet I have no less enthusiasm, determination and vision for where I want to progress to in my business and in my sector. I will take a leaf out of Bill’s book.
I’d love to hear how you manage your schedule to get your Think Time?