THINK TIME (Part 2)
In our last post, we discussed the WHY of dedicated think time. In this installment, we’ll begin to look at practical ways to actually make this happen.
The place to start (that is both practical and effective) is a weekly slot of time set aside for this purpose. Many of my leadership colleagues at our last company referred to this as getting to your Starbucks chair, because the idea was to get out of the office and into a “neutral space” where you could grab a cup of coffee (or whatever) and just think.
My recommendation has always been to set aside at least 1 hour per week, hopefully on the same day at the same time. Block it on your calendar as an appointment with yourself—not one you can fudge and move around! Treat it like a client meeting or an appointment with your therapist (which it kind of is). Keep it. You need it and it will make the balance of your life better.
One client early on asked me, “What do I think about?” That’s a great question because this is not meant to be daydream time or mind-wandering time. It’s meant to be dedicated think time. I answered her off the cuff but, since then, I’ve stuck to the plan I suggested to her.
Week 1–Think about your clients. Who haven’t you seen lately? What value add might you bring? Who is at risk?
Week 2–Think about your team. Do you have the right people in the right seats? Is morale healthy and energetic? Is anyone drifting? What developmental needs do they have?
Week 3–Think about your finances. What did the latest P&L look like? How are your margins? Spending? What do 3 month and six month trends tell you? What variances get your attention?
Week 4–Think about your processes. What is working? What is not? What is needed that you don’t have? What do you do that isn’t needed?
Rinse and repeat.
Keep notes of your thinking in a notebook, legal pad, or (and this is the one piece of technology I allow) on your iPad. You don’t want to lose that one great idea or question that came to you today!