Why You and Your Business Need Thinking Time

Today, we’re going to talk about the fascinating topic of thinking time and planning for it – why it can help us and how we might be able to do more of it to get better results.

Towards the end of last year, I read a book by Keith Cunningham called The Road Less Stupid, and there’s a brilliant quote in this particular book.

He talks about Charlie Munger, the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, and how many business owners make silly mistakes, and that one of his quotes is that “operators react and sweat whilst owners think and plan”.

If you’ve not read this book, it’s well worth reading if you are a business owner that wants to move forward. In it, he talks a lot about crazy decisions that people make, purely and simply because they don’t take enough time to think through their choices.

The Issue of Time in Our Busy Lives

What happens in today’s environment is that we’re all too busy.

You sit down at your PC, and you are bombarded with information; emails, social media, projects you are working on and research.

Before we know where we are, everybody else’s agenda is hijacking ours.

I know that that’s the case because when I talk with many of my clients, they often say, “I don’t get time to think”.

If you look at some of the most successful people on the planet, they spend a lot of time thinking. I was reading somewhere that Warren Buffet spends around 8% of his time thinking and dreaming, accessing both his subconscious and conscious mind, to an extent where he can think about what it is that he wants to do.

Bill Gates goes away for two weeks a year, on his own, with a notepad and pen and some books to read and think.

It is worth noting that these are two of the most successful people on the planet.

We have so many inputs coming into our mind at any one time that we end up living a very generalised life. We process information by generalising things; we distort information or delete it – our brains are just too busy to deal with it.

How to Make Time to Think 

If you would like to recover some of that information, if you would like a better way of planning out what you want to achieve, I strongly recommend giving yourself the gift of thinking time.

What you have to remember is your brain needs a rest from all this bombardment of data, and you need time to be able to process it.

One of the things that I suggest you do is ask yourself some questions and then let them percolate.

I tend to put my thinking time in once a week. On a Friday, I work from home when I can. I’ll take some time on that day to sit and think; I plan it into my diary.

You’re not going to get much thinking done in under an hour, so if you could take half a day, that would be even better.

One of the reasons I like doing this on a Friday is because I’ve had so many inputs during the week. If I’ve got time on a Friday, I can sit and contemplate the things that have happened.

It’s less tactical and more strategic. Thinking about the markets we need to explore, the type of clients we want, or how we can build a better business.

By asking these questions, it can give you that space to be able to process.

My strategy is to have some questions that I would like answers for, and the subconscious mind will always find a way to come up with the solutions. I will often ask my questions the night before when I go to sleep so my brain can start thinking about it.

Then, when I take my time on a Friday, as I recall those questions, the brain has started working on them anyway. I would suggest that you do this regularly rather than when you think, “I just need to take an hour to think.” Then plan it in, and you’ll be amazed and what could start to happen for you.

Choose somewhere quiet so you can be relaxed, sit down, have a notepad and pen. Then you start to ask yourself the questions you would like answered.

It may take a while before things start to happen for you. Don’t be perturbed by that. It’s because probably you’re giving your brain a rest, and you’re thinking, “Wow. I can do some proper processing here.”

This is all about the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’. Rather than “How can we get more people to our website?” it’s “What type of people do we want to get to our website?”.

Or some of the more significant questions, “Where are we going as a company? Do we want to be remote working forever, or do we want to do a hybrid? Where do we want to be in five years?”

When you start to think about it in this context, you will be amazed at where the answers come from because there’s a great belief, energy out equals energy in, and you start to ask the questions, you will get the answers.

Next Steps?

As you finish reading this blog, I’d suggest you go into your diary and plan out some thinking time. If you would like any more advice, drop me an email, and I can give you some questions to consider.

Think about broad, more significant, open questions that elevate your thinking rather than thinking down at the tactical level.

You’d be surprised what would come up for you and how this can work for you.

This is Denise talking about ‘thinking time’. I shall hopefully connect with some of you over the next few weeks. Drop me an email and let me know how it goes.

Bye for now.

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