Monday, 28 August 2017

Think Priority

We all have our own unique definition of what a luxury is.

Long haul flights are my luxury by way of providing an extended period of uninterrupted reading time. I have a 12-hour flight in a few weeks and with it, the luxury of 12 hours continuous reading time, less a few breaks for a nap and something to eat.

If I have a passenger next to me eager for a chat, they will be disappointed.

For you, it might be a visit to the day spa, coffee and cake, a fine bottle of wine or theatre night.

Almost certainly, a luxury we all crave and seldom achieve is “time to think”.

We lead busy lives and not just those of us who carry significant work and business responsibilities. Life itself has become more demanding as the activities available to fill our leisure time and that of our children are forever increasing.

The variety of distractions are also spiralling upwards; online, offline. Not that many years ago our primary distraction was free to air Television, Now, an increasing number of us rarely watch this outdated medium as streaming and on demand viewing provides countless more options and absorbs an increasing amount of our time.

Our schedules are full, meetings, flights to catch, presentations to prepare, school assignments to assist with, sporting commitments, ballet, book club, gym class, social events, business functions and more fill our diaries.

A common factor among those most creative, imaginative and innovative is allowing themselves time to think, to day dream.

Steve Jobs dreamed of mobile computing and connectivity via a wider application for the humble cell phone.

Einstein imagined surfing a light wave when contemplating “relativity”.

Charles Darwin had a “thinking path” he would walk down. Literally.

Fiona Kerr of the University of Adelaide said:

“Daydreaming allows the mind to wander. The outcome is consistently more productive when dealing with complex problems or coming up with creative solutions and ideas”.

Sounds like a powerful and valuable activity, doesn’t it?

If time to think is something we crave and need, should it be scheduled in our diary?  If it is important, why is so much else prioritised ahead of time to think, imagine and day dream?

To para phrase comments by Zat Rana, contributor to

Thinking is not valued by a culture that mostly fetishizes measurable outputs like hours worked and reports produced.

No doubt you have an important engagement this week, it might be a specific business meeting or a parent/teacher event. It is scheduled and is a not negotiable priority.

Try scheduling an hour of thinking time in your week for each of the next four weeks, and prioritise it as important and not to be overridden.

Remove yourself from all electronic distractions. Leave your phone elsewhere, no screens and no music or radio of any type.

All you have is you, a notebook (paper based notebook) and a pen.

Relax and let your mind wander. Record what comes to mind, if you want to.

Put some questions in to your consciousness and let your sub conscious work on then.

It may be a specific work issue or it may be more introspective such as if you are engaged in your life or rolling in aimless motion, or perhaps what opportunities are you procrastinating over and why?

It is hard, particularly at first, very, very hard. Like everything worth while, it takes practice. We struggle to slow ourselves down. However, if you schedule and execute an hour thinking time each week for 4 consecutive weeks, chances are you will want to make it a weekly habit and even increase the time allocated.

What have you got to lose?

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