Today, we’re going to talk about the fascinating topic of thinking – and planning time for it – why it can help us and how we might be able to do more of it and get better results.
Now, before we get into this fascinating topic of thinking, I recommend that you download our marketing audit checklist. There are 30 questions in this particular audit, and it’ll give you a real starting point for your marketing, but today we’re going to talk about slightly different types of thinking as well.
Why Time to Think is Critical
Let’s get into talking about thinking. Often people say to me; you’re a big thinker, Denise, you sometimes think too much. Maybe I do, but it seems to work for me because I think one of the things we can all fall into the trap of is the good old Puritan work ethic.
I think many recruiters fall into that too. It’s an entrepreneurial thing at the moment; sometimes people think it’s trendy to work hard; that’s what we have to do, and that’s the only way we can get results.
Maybe a hundred years or so ago, that was the case, but not so now. I know that I have fallen foul of this on many an occasion because as I say, I have a Puritan work ethic. I was brought up in the North of England, and it was expected that we worked hard. The only time you would ever get anything, we were told as children were to work hard. That if you worked hard, you were doing good and everything would work for you.
That’s probably not entirely the case now because we live in the knowledge age, and our results are not about how hard we can work. It’s more about the value that we can create and support our clients in delivering solutions for them, which is slightly different from working our socks off.
Towards the end of last year, I read a book by Keith Cunningham called The Road Less Stupid, which I think is a take on M. Scott Peck’s famous work, The Road Less Traveled, and there’s a brilliant quote, in this particular book.
He talks a lot 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
Now, I think what happens in today’s environment is that we’re all busy. You sit down at your PC, whether you’re working from home at the moment because of what’s happening with the pandemic, or whether you are in your office; you open up your emails. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I dread it and think, oh, what’s happened now? I wonder if we need to do this, or that’s something else that I need to finish by whatever time.
Before we know where we are, we’re in, things are happening, and everybody else’s agenda is hijacking ours.
When really sometimes, all we need to do is stop, press pause, and say, okay, are we actually in the right sector here? Are we doing the things that we should be doing? Is it time to sit down and do some planning and think about what we want to do? What is our bigger goal here? What do we want to achieve?
I know that that’s the case because when we talk with many of our clients, they just often say, “I don’t get time to think”.
That is the nub of today’s blog – you have to have 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 something like 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 something like two weeks a year, on his own with a notepad and pen, and some books to read, and thinks. These are two of the most successful people on the planet.
Of course, the amazing Oprah does this too, as well. If it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for us.
Because what happens is, we live busy, frantic lives. We have so many inputs coming into our mind at any one time that we end up living a very generalised life. The way we process information is that we tend to generalise things; we distort things or delete them.
Have you ever noticed when someone says, “did you hear what I said” or “remember when I mentioned that?.” Sometimes you think, oh no, that didn’t connect with me, because the way our brains manage all this input of data that’s coming in, that’s what we do, we generalise, distort, delete.
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.
I know some of you might be thinking, Well, what do I do, Denise, or do I just sit and think? Well, that’s a start. 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 just let them percolate. Just think, and maybe do some reading and take some time away from the business.
I tend to put thinking time in once a week. I’d like to do it more, and I think I will start doing it more. 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.
Something I strongly suggest is that 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 to do this on a Friday is because I’ve had so many inputs during the week that if I’ve got time on a Friday, I can sit and cogitate on some of the things that have been happening.
This isn’t about how could we get more candidate leads, or how can we get more client leads? It’s less tactical and more strategic. This is about well, what market should we be in anyway? What is the type of leads that we want, or how can we build a better business? How can we serve our clients better?
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 is amazing to do that. 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.
A top tip: do not do this in work or don’t go down to the local coffee shop because what’s happening there is you’re getting a lot of sensory input. It’s much better to go somewhere quiet, at home maybe.
My office at home is very relaxed and quiet, which is great because I don’t want any sensory input.
Because if you’re in Starbucks, somebody comes in, somebody’s loud, suddenly music starts playing, or you get somebody to sit next to you, or if you’re sitting outside Starbucks, somebody starts smoking next to you, or whatever might happen.
All these things are going on, and your senses are heightened. Don’t do that.
Also, when you’re sitting at your desk, there is, unfortunately, a tendency that you’re going to pull up your email and start managing that. Go away somewhere quiet so you can be relaxed, sit down, have a notepad and pen. I do like to go old-school. I know people use iPads, but I like to go old-school. Then you start to ask yourself some questions.
When you start doing this, 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 for a start off and your brain is thinking, “Wow. I can do some proper processing here.” It may take time to start kicking in for you. Ask your mind some questions and then be ready, willing, and open as things start to happen for you. This is all about the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’. Rather than “How can we get more people to our website?”. This is more around “What type of people do we want to get to our website?”.
Or some of the bigger questions, “Where are we going as a company? Do we want to be remote working forever, or do we want to do a hybrid? What are the important things?”. 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.
Now, I happen to be somebody that has beliefs. I pray every day, and that really helps me in getting clarity. I do feel that I get a message or a sign to say, “Yes, I think that will be a good idea.” “Maybe that’s not quite the idea that you are thinking of.” We all at some level have access to that other part of ourselves and thinking is a way for you to do it.
As you finish reading this blog, I’d suggest you go into your diary and plan out some thinking time. If anyone’s into this and want more advice, drop me an email, and I can give you some questions to think about.
Just think about broad, bigger, 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. I shall hopefully connect with some of you over the next few weeks. Drop me an email and let me know how it goes and if you would like support with your marketing then book your complimentary marketing consultation here