I overheard a conversation in a Starbucks last week…

Older Guy:          “So how is work”.

Younger Guy:    “Incredibly busy. In fact, so busy I never have time to sit and think”.

Older Guy:          “So how do you know you are working on the right stuff”.

Younger Guy:    “I don’t". 

. What a concept.

I am a pretty good listener and like to notice stuff around me. I see marketing professionals I know who are so tethered to their online activities, heavy project load and busy life that I wonder if anyone spends time thinking anymore.

It is an old school technology that goes on when you sit quietly and daydream. Links can occur and can help you realize how burdened we are with doing the wrong stuff. Your task list is filled with paper to push along and stuff that you said you would do for others.

But when you sit back and think - where should you place your energy.

Thinking is an odd habit that can look like you are doing nothing and being unproductive. Yet, it can be one of the best time management investments. If I didn't schedule my thinking hour each week, my marketing team and I would be working on way too many low value activities. Fewer is always better than many if they are the right things to be doing. 

Thinking and its partner quiet time; can help you truly understand where the leverage points in your efforts exist. It can help you determine should I do this or that. It sounds simplistic but it can help you to stop doing things as you ask yourself why keep working on activities that can't help you achieve your top goals?  

The smartest strategic marketers I know spend lots of quiet time thinking. 

Set Up A Personal Thinking Meeting
Try scheduling one hour per week of thinking on your calendar without an agenda. Stay off line, take the phone off the hook and don’t give yourself a specific agenda to follow. See where you mind wanders as you only stare at your TO DO list of tasks in front of you.  What rises to the level of important, powerful and a catalyst to growth?

Allow yourself a chance for your brain to wander and to ruminate. I like to keep a pen and paper handy to draw or sketch a thought or two or even to doodle. Often by the end of the allotted time, something important emerges that becomes clearer. I may realize that of all my things to do; only one is really worth the time and investment. I may see a connection that helps demonstrate a big value to your organization that success with a certain activity can bring. You start crossing stuff off of your list and you realize, lots of things are less worthy ideas.
Thinking is like the silence in between the notes in a musical score. 
Go ahead. Think about it.

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