Think – /THiNGk/ verb – to direct one’s mind toward someone or something; use one’s mind actively to form connected ideas.
Laptop closed. iPad shut down. Smartphone charging in a room nearby. Moleskine open. Pen in hand. It’s time to think; to write; to plan and dream. It’s time to shut out the noise; turn off the devices; ignore the emails for a moment and do something rare – THINK. This will be “my word” for the year and I plan to use it often. Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
Today, more than ever, thinking is rare. There is so much information bombarding us and too much competing for our attention as we slog through life, perhaps “getting the job done”, but rarely stopping to really think; to consider; to actually form connected ideas. This year I am beginning my days differently. I’m planning to think before I do anything else.
In the mornings I’m reading an “analog” Bible – you know, the one with the crinkly pages that sometimes are stuck together because of the gold on the edge? (or because you haven’t read that section yet ) I’m studying one scripture or passage at a time instead of trying to see how many chapters I can burn through in a morning marathon. And I’m using an inductive Bible study approach where you do three things.
- Observe – What does this verse say? (copy the verse)
- Interpret – What does it mean?
- Application – How does it apply to my life?
All of this will go neatly in my new Moleskine journal where I can Write down these thoughts and whatever else is rolling around in my head as I think and plan. Will I do this every single day? To be honest, probably not, but it is part of my plan for the year and I will do it as often as I can. The goal will be to have some consistency in my morning plan without creating a “chore” that I will walk away from too soon. The goal isn’t to add another “to do” to my list or resolution that I won’t keep – it’s to take the time to Think and write and consider.
In my work life I’m using a similar approach – THINK first – write down those thoughts and plan my day – ALL of this BEFORE I ever open my laptop or the first email. The problem here is if you don’t plan your day, your day will plan you and email is a distraction and a continuous interruption that can, for the most part, wait. As a manager in a small communications company, setting aside time to think and plan is critical to “moving the ball forward” instead of doing what I’ve always done and hoping something changes. In addition, I’m considering creating themes for different days of the week. This approach allows you to have focused time on a particular subject or need. If interruptions occur, as they always do, you can still stay on track because it’s “Prospecting Day” or “Product Development Day” or “Meeting Day”. A few years ago there was a lot of buzz around a CEO named Jack Dorsey who was running Twitter and Square (a company he founded) at the same time. He themed his days of the week to stay focused. He also talked about the importance of “scheduling time to think.”
As we get older I think our New Year’s resolutions get a bit more vague. We all know we need to eat less, move more, be kinder, give more, go places we haven’t seen and do things we haven’t done – but, after years of those kinds of lists stacking up it makes you more cautious on the things you are willing to write down and commit to. So I’m keeping it simple this year. I’m planning to THINK.
“Five percent of the people think;
ten percent of the people think they think;
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
― Thomas A. Edison
How about you? Are you willing to think this year?