One of the nice things about my job is I’m usually busy. I like when I look up at the end of the day and see that the day has flown by. It usually means time well spent. And time is the most precious commodity we have as people and especially so as owners.
A bunch of my time has been spent on the road, and that too is a nice way to spend time. It gives me time to think. I can think as I’m driving down the road either to or from a client. (FYI, I do pay attention to the road when I’m driving!)
I also like to spend time thinking when I’m either flying to or from a client. That’s especially useful time because I’m cut off from the usual distractions of my cell phone, my email and my computer. Even though there’s internet access these days on airplanes, I don’t do any work. I pride myself on being prepared ahead of time. I just relax and think.
Is all thinking good?
Nope. Sometimes, I find it hard to get a good night’s sleep when I’m on the road working because the things the client and I talked about or that I want to talk about the next day will keep me awake at night or wake me up in the middle of the night.
The other things I coach clients about when it comes to overthinking is to avoid spending time thinking and worrying about the wrong things. The wrong things are things you can’t control or do much of anything about. You don’t want to fret over things that take you away from staying focused and engaged. When you’re not attentive, these thoughts can seep in since there’s no distraction readily available.
Overall, time to think is time well spent. That is once we give ourselves permission to spend time thinking versus al-ways being in the mode of doing stuff or what I call “a state of busy” that makes us think we’re being productive. Most times, we’re just busy and not productive. Directing a portion of your day, your week and your month to time to think about the right things when it comes to your business is the best way to spend your time.
So, what should you be thinking about?
- How do you best prioritize your time at work?
- How do you focus on the right things to work on with the right people?
- What should you be doing more of because they are working?
- What types of things should you stop doing because they are not working?
- What types of things should you start doing that you’re not?
- Who should stay at your company or even be promoted?
- Who needs to go at your company and why?
- What products and services do you sell now that you love and how will you market them better so you can sell more?
- What products and services should you stop selling?
- What products and services should you be selling that you don’t right now?
Think about these things and make your company better.
At the core, these are things for any owner of any company anywhere to be thinking about. And that’s why my first step with a client is always about teaching them how to think about each of the items above in a constructive and productive way. The goal is to be spending a portion of each day (preferably at the end of your day no matter how long and hard that day was) thinking about each item above.
I did this many years ago at my own company in what I called my “30-Minute Time Block.” Every day, or at least when I got home and was getting ready for bed no matter how late I was out working, I would focus on these questions. It was a way for me to put these items “to bed” so I could go to sleep.
Better than just thinking about them, I used to make a list and write out the problems and challenges that would come up from this thinking exercise and then I’d trust myself to let my unconscious mind help me while I’d sleep. More times than not, the next morning I’d awake with a new solution to a problem or challenge that had been plaguing me.
I bet you’ve struggled with a sticky type of problem too and then fell asleep unwittingly only to awake the next day with the solution at hand too.
My suggestion is to make this a formal habit so it’s in place because you’ll be better prepared to be working on the right things, in the right order and in the right way.