In this fourth installment of Think Time, we want to look at building it into your daily routine. It can be very abstract to talk about your “Starbucks Time” and your “Extended Times of Thinking.” These are powerful and necessary but they’re also very easy to plan and ignore. Daily Thinking, on the other hand, is pretty much in your face.

How much time would you say you engage in active thinking on a daily basis? I don’t mean when your mind is whirling or you’re in a meeting to “brainstorm.” I mean focused active cogitation. I’d be willing to bet it’s a lot less than you imagine. My iPad has a function called Screen Time. It tells me daily and weekly how much time I’ve spent on it and compares it to the week before (up or down by X%). My Screen Time is always more than I would guess just like my Think Time is less.

Can I suggest 4 things that will help you build thinking into your day?

First, set aside private quiet time in the morning, preferably before you start work. This can be anywhere from 10-30 minutes in which you simply think. Perhaps you take a few deep breaths or you read something devotional to get started, perhaps a chapter in the Bible, or your favorite poet. Then, with pen in hand (or iPad on), begin to think about…whatever. Work. Family. A challenge you know is coming up. A defeat or victory from the day before. Think and record your ideas.

Second, plan on turning away from your computer and going outside or on the patio, or down the hall for just a few minutes. Maybe 5-10 minutes; longer if you can. A 30-minute walk in the open air after lunch would do wonders for you and open your mind to think.

Third, take a moment every hour to stop and look around and to think. Your smartwatch can be programmed to remind you to get up and walk for 1 minute every hour. Do it and use that time to clear your head and actively think a bit.

Finally, practice what the Covey organization calls “Capture the Gold.” At the end of your day, look over your notes, calendar, Evernote. Identify the key things you committed to, learned, or avoided. Write them down or highlight them in your diary as a way of debriefing your day and capturing key ideas.

Then, go home (or out of your spare bedroom) and enjoy your family, your cat, a little TV, or music. 

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