The most valuable time spent is often times the time spent in thought.
On the weekends I have my son, he comes to me for several nights and we spend time time together as during the week he lives with his mother.
After dinner this Saturday night we sat in my lounge room, he was happily drawing on the floor, pencils and pens scattered across the carpet with countless sheets of paper surrounding him. I sat on the couch with a whiteboard marker in my hand, motionless and staring at the 3 whiteboards that I utilise to write down ideas and figure out ways that I can get to where I want to be.
My son looked up at me and said “what are you doing?” to which I replied, “I am doing my goal setting” which is a fairly regular occurrence in my house. He has waited for a a few seconds and then said, “but your not doing anything”…I paused… I looked at him once again and said “No Cy, that’s wrong actually, the hardest work that anyone can do is to think”. He has nodded his head in a manner that said to me something along the lines of “okay dad, whatever you reckon”. He has then gone back to drawing and I have returned to silence.
In my mind I have then gone off on a tangent, thinking about what I had said to my son, realising that although the thinkers in the long term are rewarded for their work, often times in the short term what they do is under valued. It is very easy to put a price onto the work of a bricklayer, for each brick laid there is price paid, a pretty simple equation really. But for someone who’s thoughts are their work I have found that it can be difficult to explain exactly what it is that you are doing especially to those that don’t quite understand the value in thought.
As someone who has worked on site and had several labour based jobs over the years I understand that for the majority of people being paid for your thoughts is a tough concept to get your head around.However, I believe fully in the statement that I made to my son. Ideas are a dime a dozen, great ideas are a little less common and amazing and innovatinve ideas or concepts that can actually be implemented by anyone, especially in terms of personal development, are pretty few and far between.
The issue being that many people that are in a position to utilise their ideas in a way that can effect society, often times don’t actually designate much real time to doing what Cal Newport
describes as “Deep Work”. In my case this is often time that has been allocated specifically for the purpose of thinking and nutting out ideas.
Had it not have been for my son’s random comment whilst I was sitting on the couch I would have had a solid hour of thinking without disturbance, I recognise that Ideally there would be no disturbance and this is the reason that I also wake up at 5 am and get to work before the world around me starts to interfere with the clarity that I require to think things through.
What I am talking about is not research time and it is not “creative time”, however, it is time in which you will end out being creative. It is time where all you have with you is your pen and paper to jot down your thoughts, the ideas that you have, strategies that you can implement, Changes that you would like to make in your life or business.
By the end of that hour I had thought about the age old saying, “your network is your networth” and I had made a list of everyone that I knew personally and professionally that I believe my services could add value too. On top of that I had also thought out a video content strategy and had come up with a way that I could deliver visual content consistently to a high standard. I also became very clear about what area of my business and creative endeavours currently needed the most focus for growth and I realised the area that I now need to dive deep into learning about. I hadn’t intended to think about any of those things, But without putting that time specifically aside I would not have come to the realisations that I have had.
At the end of the day my recommendations are fairly simple really,
Put time aside to think, removing all distractions, no phone at arms reach or television on in the background, just you, a piece of paper and a pen, or in my case, a white board marker and whiteboard, and maybe if you have one easily available, a 6 year child who can ask you a question mid thought, a question that might spur on more questions.
And now for the big one, How do you go about allocating time to think? And What are you thinking about?