A few years ago I read an article written by some unremembered high powered American advertising executive. The thing I remember about this article is what he wrote about thinking. He said that he had a nice chair in a corner of his office, and every day he had time scheduled for thinking in his diary. And so he would sit in his chair for an hour, and consider the various projects his company was working on.
For a great many people life is stressful and so demanding of our time. This is not only at work, but also in study and in our personal lives. Must get the work done. Must get the assignment in. Must answer this message RIGHT NOW. Glued to our phones. I think that mostly people are on auto-pilot of the mind.
Perhaps we are losing the art of thinking. I am fortunate in that over the last 10 years or so I have worked for myself. It took me years to stop rushing and slow down and think a bit before doing something.
If I had done this in some of my previous jobs – taken some time out away from my desk without it being an “official designated break” to ponder the best way of doing something, without the interruptions and distractions that would normally happen if I was at my desk – I would have been considered to be “slacking off”. And if it happened too frequently, I probably would have been disciplined. Much business culture is like this.
What a great many people do not realise, is that thinking is work. Thinking is study. Thinking is home life. Time spent quietly considering what to put in that report, and what is the best way of structuring it will produce a much better end product.
I wish more people would accept the process of thinking, either in themselves or in others. And even encourage it.
Many times have I sat outside, drinking coffee (and if I am being a really bad girl – having a cigarette) and thinking about the best way to handle a project. And many times people have thought I was simply being lazy. And that is just not the case. I was working – I was thinking.
Thinking things through – considering, rejecting, adding, re-organising and so on saves time. By the time I put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – I know exactly what I am going to do. The work flows out and only needs minor changes and tidying up.
I pretty much wrote this entire post in my head over 2 cups of coffee before typing it up for what I hope is your reading pleasure. Once typed, I re-organised a couple of things and changed some of the grammar. And spell checked. And it is done. It was quick. It was easy.
And later on I am going to sit outside with my coffee, throwing the toy mindlessly for my dog, and deciding on what I am going to write next. And then I am going to write that in my head.
Think about it.