How often do you intentionally slow down and give yourself time to think? It can make a huge difference in your creativity and productivity. Many people don’t want to pause – or know how to pause – during the workday. They simply feel there are too many calls to make and quotas to meet to set aside time for thinking.  

However, having sufficient time for thinking is imperative, according to Ben Brearley, MBA, a leadership coach, trainer and facilitator. It can help you better understand your progress and current situation. If you’re running on autopilot, some thinking time can also help you chart a new path based on where you are right now.

So, how can you build more thinking time into a jampacked schedule? Take a few tips from Brearley. We share his guidance in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

  1. Make your meetings shorter. If you book a meeting for an hour, change it to 45 minutes. If you book it for 30 minutes, scale it back to 15 or 20 minutes. Brearley likes this strategy because it creates a break between meetings. You’ll automatically get a break to pause, reset and get ready for your next task. Wonder if you can still accomplish the meeting’s objectives in a shorter time frame? Rest assured you can. He says that most work takes as long as you allocate to it. Working within the confines of a shorter meeting will have you working more productively to achieve the outcome.
  2. Block off time in your calendar. While not anything new, this strategy works for building in time to think. Brearley says it works even better if you combine it with booking a meeting room or heading to a nearby coffee shop. You might worry you’ll appear unavailable to your team. Don’t get caught up on this thought, though. According to Brearley, your team members will often start to work around your bookings, leaving you free to pause.
  3. Be proactive with particularly challenging stakeholders. You know the ones – those who regularly drop by your office or check in, disrupting your flow. Instead of waiting for them to pop in, Brearley recommends being proactive about what you’re up to. Try to anticipate their needs and communicate your plan for the rest of the day or week. He advises telling them when you’ll check in with them so they don’t reach out to you first.

Instead of running from meeting to meeting and filling every moment of your workday, let yourself think. It doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing less or wasting your time. Instead, it means you’re allowing yourself to be a more thoughtful, strategic promo professional.  

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Ben Brearley, MBA is a leadership coach, trainer and facilitator with over 16 years of management and consulting experience.