According to a recent article on Inc.com, Warren Buffet has spent 80 percent of his career reading and thinking. Inc.com contributor Brian Scudamore says even though it seems counterintuitive to devote that much time to not being “busy,” he heralds Buffet as a trailblazer in this regard, and several high profile CEO’s are following suit.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong requires that his executives spend 10% of their day just thinking. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules two hours of uninterrupted thinking time each day. Bill Gates takes off two weeks a year to reflect deeply, without interruption. Scudamore, the founder and CEO of a $250 million company, says he has also embraced the idea.
While carving out the time might prove challenging, Scudamore offers these tips:
- Put “thinking time” on your calendar. If you can’t schedule a full day, block out a few hours a week that are off limits to everyone and everything.
- Don’t go to the office. Spend your time wandering, riding a bike, sitting on the beach or a park bench.
- Bring your journal to capture and organize your ideas into an actionable form – don’t censor or judge what you record.
- Use the time to prune your to-do list. Keep only the items that are truly priorities.
The fast pace of today’s business environment leads one to believe that thinking time is down time, but Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
Scudamore says, at first, devoting time to just thinking felt self-indulgent. But now he can’t imagine doing without it. What about you? How would protected time to reflect help you excel?
Don’t underestimate the value of regularly scheduling stretches of time to go within to process, evaluate and plan. It will be time well spent.