Last time we talked about one of the biggest secrets to being more productive: slowing down. When we take the time to slow down and think through our task, relationship, or our life in general, we become problem solvers, idea generators, and creativity factories. When we don’t, we’re just taskmasters, using more energy than we create and growing more tired and emotionally drained.
So, why don’t we slow down and think more often? I’ve been thinking about that…
- We don’t see the need. We get praise, reward, and recognition for what we do, not what we think, so naturally we gravitate towards performance rather than process. The irony is that without slowing down and thinking it through, the chances of success drop dramatically.
- Busy-ness looks (and feels) impressive. If someone looks busy, they must be important. The guy on his cell phone in the school hallway while his daughter is on stage must be important, right? The person who has 9 things on his calendar today must be in high demand, right? But- ask the daughter what she thinks of her dad. Then check that calendar again – are all 9 events truly productive or just there to fill gaps?
- We don’t understand it. “Think? What do you mean? I think all the time!” Sure, but that kind of thinking is almost involuntary, where strategic thinking is more purposeful, focused, and dimensional. Problem-solving, critical analysis, and creativity cannot happen without focused thought. It’s more like meditation or study but doesn’t necessarily follow a format.
- We don’t know how. If you’ve never slowed down to “think on purpose,” then you may think you don’t know how. But you actually do! You do it when the issue is critical enough. You did it when you wrote that report, thesis, or term paper. You did it when you built the swing set in the backyard or when you researched your new car.
In my next post, we’ll discuss HOW to slow down and think it through. Before you read it, do yourself a favor: Take 15 minutes, clear your calendar, get in a private place, and just think. You can doodle or take notes if you want, but think. Don’t DO anything. I’ll bet you have a very hard time. I do. But if you do it, I’ll also bet that you come away energized with a new idea, thought, or solution. Worth a try? Comment below and let me know how it goes—I’d love to hear your story.