Time To Think

If you’re not already aware of Dave Pell’s Next Draft, check it out and get the app. He provides an excellent blend of news and interesting reading. This gem from yesterday’s issue came at the perfect time.

From the New York Times: “No Time to Think”:

But you can’t solve or let go of problems if you don’t allow yourself time to think about them. It’s an imperative ignored by our culture, which values doing more than thinking and believes answers are in the palm of your hand rather than in your own head.

We have given up too much of ourselves

We don’t have time to ourselves anymore. Must we always be doing? Going? Writing? Building? Designing? Networking? Working? No. We can break the cycle. We can make time to reflect on our most recent conversation. We can make time to read and make time to think about what we just read.

We make or break the rules

There’s this widespread belief that thinking and feeling will only slow you down and get in your way, but it’s the opposite.

If you only do what they tell you, you’ll never grow. You’ll never experience life to its fullest. I’m proof that you can make your own rules, or at least break a few of those imposed on you that make no sense. Who wants to only do what’s socially acceptable anyway? Society is completely messed up, and you want to comply with that? Determine what’s essential to you and make or break rules as necessary.

To think for yourself, you must make time

I’ve learned a hard lesson in the two years since I quit my “safe and secure” job. Sure, I’ve made plenty of time for things that truly matter, like road trips, exploration and game time. But I didn’t do that at the sacrifice of work, I did it at the sacrifice of “me” time: time to think and reflect, time to exercise, time to read and write. That led me into a bad cycle. I would learn, but I would not have time to think, reflect and apply what I learned.

Make a commitment

Do it right now. You can stop reading this. You’re more important. Commit an hour this week to nothing but thinking. Figure out a nice quiet place you can hole up and just think. Bring a notebook, because you’ll have ideas. Write them down. Then leave them alone and think some more. Next week, commit two hours. Then, start to work it into your daily schedule. If you have a one-hour meeting, add thirty minutes afterward to reflect on what happened. Empathize with those involved and figure out what you’re going to do next.

Process your thoughts and feelings

Finally, we need time for processing. We have wonderful days and happy thoughts. We have miserable days and sad thoughts. These are important to us as human beings. We can and should learn from all these experiences. But we can’t learn and grow if we don’t give ourselves time to reflect and think through things.

Make the time. It will pay off in your work, your relationships and your overall being.

Before long, you’ll realize it’s your favorite time of the week.

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