Taking time to think. Working on your business, as well as in your business

We all know that it is important to spend time thinking about our businesses. You need to work on your business, as well as in your business, we are told.

This is not just good advice, it is vital advice.

But, I don’t have time

The problem is that we don’t have the time, or we don’t make the time. We are busy, we react to our businesses, we respond, we rarely control. And further more, when we do make the time, many of us try to do this on an ad hoc basis or sitting at our desks.

“And what’s wrong with that?”, I hear you ask. Well, quite a lot actually.

To get you started, here are my 4 top tips for giving yourself thinking time

1. Plan your thinking time

Block out some time in your diary, where you won’t be disturbed. Make it as important as a client meeting. Make it unmovable.

Place the time at a point in your week when you are at your least active. 10am Tuesday morning is not the time, but how about early Friday afternoon? Late Wednesday afternoon? A time where you won’t feel that you should be doing something else. Make a less productive time productive.

2. Take yourself away from your desk

We naturally do certain tasks in certain places. We become anchored to those places, and when we are in those places, we default to those things. These habits are good, and when we control them, can be very powerful.

The problem for thinking is that we are often anchored to active, client focused behaviors at our desks. We check email, we phone, we research, we do active things. And, when we are not doing those things, we often use the internet. We kill time by browsing. We don’t think at a higher level there.

So go for a walk, head to a cafe or coffee shop. Get away from the places that you do other work things. And when you do this a magic thing happens. Your mind starts to wander. You start to have ideas. You start to think.

3. Let your mind wander

Don’t push the process. Thoughts and ideas will come naturally, as you give yourself permission to consider things. Let go of the ‘I must work’ thoughts. Start by thinking about a part of your business, or a particular issue. And if you need help, do something else and let your less conscious mind wander. Thoughts will come.

4. Anchor a new thinking place

If you continue to use the same places and activities to think, you will start to anchor new behaviors. You will establish behaviors that trigger thinking, and you will have built new good habits.

This is great, and then whenever you want to think or consider something, you just go to that place, or do that activity, and away you go.

For me this is when I am waking my dog, when I am on a long drive, when I am gardening, and then I am in the shower. Places where I am doing something else consciously, places where my mind can wander.

Start now

Start now. Open your diary and block out some time. Where might you start to think?

Contact me

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at james@jamesnathan.com, use the contact page on my website www.jamesnathan.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathan, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to speaking soon.

Views: 241

Comment by Tim Spagnola on April 4, 2013 at 7:26am

I always enjoy your posts/writing James. Thanks for sharing. 

Comment by james nathan on April 4, 2013 at 7:59am

Thank you Tim, and its a pleasure. 

Comment by Will Thomson on April 4, 2013 at 9:49am

Great post James.  I agree about getting away from your desk.  A lot of recruiters will work through lunch and not "let their minds wander".  I can not do that.  I have to go to lunch and get away for an hour. 

Comment by Bill Marek on April 4, 2013 at 12:56pm

I'm starting today! A walk at 4:00 p.m.

Comment by james nathan on April 5, 2013 at 5:48am

Great stuff Bill. How did it go?

and, thank you Will

Comment by Candace Nault on April 8, 2013 at 5:42pm

Thank you for the reminder!  I was thinking about this very same thing the other day and then got busy so this is great to remember!  I like the idea of allocating time to get out and give my brain a chance to creatively think about my business and ideas etc.  

Comment by Sam Evans on April 10, 2013 at 10:40am

Great stuff James!

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