Do Less, Think More

Next on the list of “12 things I’ve learned about work” is # 8 – do less, think more.  You know exactly what this means if you’ve ever been “swamped” at work.  And really, who isn’t these days?  I work with a variety of companies, and I’m amazed at how many of my clients are running 100 miles an hour.  All I hear is “there’s just a lot going on” or “we’re really busy right now.”  It seems like you hear this a lot more than you did 20 or even 10 years ago.  There’s no question that the stakes have been raised in terms of people doing more and more work these days.

Which brings up this question: “if you’re so busy doing, when are you taking time to simply think?”  Thinking (on a daily basis, anyway) is becoming a lost art these days.  When’s the last time you saw anyone at work reading a book or an article – stretching their mind about what’s possible by absorbing something from an external source?  How about someone looking out the window with a pen and paper, jotting down a few reflections?  Or how often are staff meetings given over to kicking around a topic or issue that has tangential relevance to something the team is working on?  The fact is, there’s a lot of “activity” going on today – and you’re probably right in the middle of it.

Here’s a suggestion – buy a journal or a notebook exclusively for “thinking.”  Jot down random thoughts, questions, reflections, and ideas.  Keep it on your desk, and strive to write in it at least three times a week.  You may not always be able to “schedule” your thinking time, but you can create a habit of writing down your thoughts when you do get a pause from the endless quest for results.  Let the journal be your daily reminder to spend a little more time thinking, and a little less time doing.