The other day I accomplished something that I have been trying to do for a very long time. That is purposefully carving out time specifically to think. There is too much noise and interruptions anymore to just find time to think. But I try. It’s said that Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn schedules two uninterrupted hours a day to just think. The CEO of AOL, Tim Armstrong makes his executive team spend at least four hours per week, locked away to just think. Other billionaires report that finding time to think is a key element in their success plan.
Learning to think on your own is a key to entrepreneurship. It’s a skill and you must practice it. The less you think the less you are worth in todays digital market. Too many times we allow our creative thinking time to be at the mercy of petty interruptions. Cell phones and mobile devices are the primary culprits. Allowing interruptions of people run a close second. Don’t you just love the guy who just stops by to talk about the big game this weekend. Or the, “Hey, you got a minute?” Whatever the interruption that we allow, we are stealing from prime creative thinking time. How many times have you allowed an interruption and lost your train of thought?
You must learn to say NO! Warren Buffet said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people is that very successful people say NO to almost everything!” You must manage your interruptions and the number one way to do that is to just learn to say no. Learn to say no to the person who wants you to go to lunch with them and talk trash about the boss. Learn to say no to the guy who just drops in to talk. Learn to say no to unwanted telephone calls. Block out some time and gift yourself with the time to think.
Here are some scary facts. The average adult checks a communication device 145 times a day. The average college student checks a device 18 times per hour. Our brain needs 17 minutes to get back to task after an interruption. So, if you run the numbers, most people never get back on task. University of California research points out that managing interruptions is critical to success. They estimate that most of the day, for many people, is spent doing low priority, low value tasks. This equals 40% to 60% of wasted work time. They estimate that the cost to the U.S. economy is over $1 trillion dollars in wasted work time value.
When we do not take the time to think, we are killing dreams. Achieving big dreams requires big thinking. So, ask yourself if you still know how to dream? Will you even allow yourself to dream? People who know how to dream; people with a vision are a commodity today and in high demand. It sounds so trivial, but then again, why do billionaires take specific and valuable time in their day to just think?
Maybe they know something that you haven’t taken the time to think about!