How much of your working hours do you spend actually reflecting and thinking of the best solutions? For me, the answer used to be zero. I was constantly chasing deadlines and neither had or took my time to stop and think.
It wasn’t until I read the book “Rest”, my mindset started to shift. I read about how some of our all-time biggest thinkers like Einstein and Marie Curie, spent half of their day working and the other half thinking of their job. That made me reflect. If we always chase after the next deadline, the next task, the next project – we’ll never achieve masterpieces close to those of the great thinkers. Sure, everything we do doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. However, if we don’t take the time to think, will we create things that will have an effect?
This had me look through my calendar to see if I could free some time to think big. Since we’re all different, it takes time to find a way that works for you specifically. With that said, I found a way that worked for me.
My day usually starts between 05:30-06:00 depending on when I went to bed the night before. I spend the first 1-1,5 hour working on the most important task of the day. After that, my thinking hour begins. So how does one spend this hour? The trick is to find the way that works best for you. It doesn’t matter if you decide to spend your hour sitting in a chair, staring straight out the window, on the treadmill with music blasting, or at the desk with pen and paper – as long as you take your time to think and reflect. I usually put my training clothes on and spend my thinking hour on my way to and at the gym. The key for me is to always be on my way somewhere. If I don’t go to the gym, I just go for a walk.
During this hour I try to not get distracted. To block out distracting sounds I listen to music.
This is how a thinking hour could look like:
1. Clear at least 30 minutes-1 hour in your calendar every day
As mentioned before, I spend my thinking hour on my way to the gym. Getting to the gym takes me around 30 minutes and my workout lasts approximately 30-40 minutes. To make this work, I never plan a meeting straight after my workout. This means that I can continue thinking while I shower and change.
2. Decide on a subject to focus on
I always plan beforehand what I’m going to spend my thinking hour thinking on. The subject has to be big enough to cover a whole hour, but still specific. To think about what I’m going to do during the day doesn’t work, since it contains many different subjects. A few questions that you could think of could be:
- Where do I want my company to be in x years?
- If I want to double number x – what do I have to do to make that happen?
- How can I work twice as efficiently?
The questions have to be challenging and force you to think of it from different perspectives. A lot of times this hour is expands to being longer than an hour, but you’ll probably be surprised by how far you can get in just an hour. You’ll also notice how this hour can help you tackle other obstacles, too.
3. Don’t stress, let it happen naturally
Some days your thinking hour is super productive, and some days it’s just not working. When my colleagues tried it for the first time, they realized that the choice of subject played a big role. Therefore, you shouldn’t stress if you feel like it isn’t working the way you expected it to the first time. Personally, I had to give it several tries until I found my way of working with it.
4. Don’t start taking notes too soon
Not grabbing a pen and write down your ideas may go against your instinct, but my tip is to try to wait and give it time. Think of your idea from different point of views before you write it down. Try to challenge the idea, test it and see if you can do it in a completely different way. When you’ve done that, you can start writing down your thoughts.
5. Take action right away
Try to take action straight after your thinking hour. An example of an action could be stating new goals or making a new strategy to increase the efficiency. This way, the probability that you’ll make use of the idea and actually start working to make it happen, will be bigger.