Daily work life can be busy, meetings, phone calls, paperwork, emails, more meetings. It just never stops. By lunchtime, your head hurts and your thinking I just need 5 minutes to get things in an orderly list, then I'll be on top of it. The reality is that the rest of your organisation is probably having the same issues and as a result ultimately the organisation as a whole just keeps running just to keep up. So when do you and the organisation get time to think? When do you get time to plan and be strategic?
Hiding seems like an extreme description but that's what a lot of people resort to in order to get time to concentrate to get time to work on the business or work on themselves. Unattended offices or meeting rooms become the hang out areas for leaders and exec teams just trying to get 5 minutes to work on the business or just to get caught up. When finding a manager in a meeting room working away instead of having lunch to get some quiet time her reaction was "Don't tell anyone!"
It's Not Stealing
It's not unusual for people to feel that they have to "steal" time to get work done, which is a crazy idea. taking time out to plan is not stealing, it's your job and you need to do it if you and your team are going to succeed. You should take time for yourself to get work or planning done and you should make time for your leadership team as a group to do this as well. Plan it into your calendar as THINKING TIME and consider it a must do.
Great Thinking Spots
There are a number of places that can and should, be used as great Thinking Spots. Places that you and the team can go to get things done and be a little more strategic about things.
- Co-Working Spaces - These space are great and popping up all over the place. They come complete with wifi, printing, coffee machine and usually meeting rooms ready set up for you. As I type this post I'm actually sitting in the Biz Dojo in Wellington just getting things done and meeting people. There is a strangely positive vibe about many of these places and that on its own seems to rub off on people and help them come up with fresh ways of thinking.
- A favorite cafe is good if you only need a few hours. In this instance I'm going to recommend that you leave the laptop at work and just take a pen and paper with you, it will force you to slow down a bit, will reduce interruptions and let you go wild with creative scribbles!
- A library - most libraries seem to be setting up places you can work complete with wifi plus you have a horde of reference material at your fingertips!
- The Park! if it's a nice day then nothing helps clear your mind like being outdoors, why not turn that staff brainstorming meeting into a picnic?
Places Not To Go
There are places that, while you will get stuff done, you won't get the best stuff done so consider carefully before you resort to any of the following:
- Your Desk - seriously?.. you honestly think you will get uninterrupted time here?...
- The work meeting room - you may get stuff done here but I bet you still get interrupted and just a 5-minute question or two that'll take 30 minutes!
- The Work Canteen - really?.. seriously some people think this is a good one, it's not, move on!
- Your home - well this is hard, I work a lot at home as well sometimes but you have to be disciplined.. avoid doing the tidying up, playing with the dog is too enticing and of course you should probably put on that washing while you are here... and of course you can't take the team with you.
Take The Time And Do It RightEnter heading here...
You will have said this to colleagues, to your kids if you have them (if you don't you will when you do, trust me).. if you are going to do something do it right 1st time. if you are going to take time out for thinking and you absolutely have to do it right, plan it in your calendar, switch off your phone & email and just go somewhere that going to let you do your best work.
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