Warren Buffet estimates that he’s spent 80% of his career reading and thinking. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong makes his executives spend four hours a week just thinking. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, dedicates two hours to uninterrupted thinking daily.
The good news? You probably already do it
I’m no big shot but my own breakfast routine is pretty sacred. I’d wake up extra early just to make sure I can squeeze in some quiet time. I use this time to collect my thoughts, revisit things with a fresh mind, or to just let my mind wander. Often I find that this short fifteen minutes brings more ‘big-picture’ value than the rest of the day’s activities. It gives me the clarity, composure, and mental preparation that I need to set my day in a productive direction.
As the rest of the day rolls on, it’s hard to find a pocket of time like this. Besides, today’s society isn’t well acquainted with the act of ‘just thinking’. If I were to sit at my desk staring into space, deeply lost in my thoughts, people will think I’m slacking off or a weirdo. It’s more normal to be scrolling mindlessly through Instagram than to be doing nothing.
Yeah, 10 hours of thinking a week might sound like a big commitment to a busy person. But why feel guilty about dropping everything for an afternoon if it makes the rest of your week more productive? What I feel bad about is getting caught up in blindly doing, day after day.
Keep a simple log of how you spend your time for the next few days. Do you find yourself swamped by low-value tasks or reacting to problems that never seem to end?
Recognise the patterns, make the necessary arrangements, and find a time where you’ll be free to think. Do it in a space that is conducive, inspiring, and distraction-free.
In his article (link below), Brian Scudamore makes a good case for setting aside time – a whole day, in his case – just to think. He breaks it down into nine steps that will help keep you on track.