Thinking About Thinking

Do you ever take the time to think about what you think about? Let me put it another way ‘Do you ever take the time to reflect?’

In a busy world that never stops, it can be hard to take a bit of time out, especially if you think that time could be used to do something more productive. But it is a hugely important thing to do, and you might just realise that this process can actually make you more productive. Without taking time to reflect, we end up doing things just because it’s what we’ve always done. We think in a certain way because that’s how we have always thought.

I first heard of this concept when I was a teenager which I discounted it for a few years before putting it in to practice. It is a very simple discipline that doesn’t take a huge amount of time and can pay huge dividends.

A few of my tips for making this work for you are these:

1. Book it in

Just like any appointment or important priority, time to reflect should be in your diary or on your calendar. It’s this simple action that actually gives the thought some potency – as something has actually been done.

2. Have some form of structure

Start with an empty piece of paper and a pen. Write out a list of questions that you can then dwell on and jot down some answers. You can pose hypothetical questions to yourself. You can look for questions from other sources. But have some kind of method that works for you.

3. Keep it regular

I like the concept of taking 15 minutes per week. Take an hour a month. A couple of hours a quarter. A weekend a year. It’s not about how much time is taken, but more the routine. You also need to feel like it isn’t a disproportionate use of time, otherwise you’re unlikely to actually follow through. But the idea of taking a bit longer to reflect on extended periods of time makes sense to me.

The bottom line is that we all have the same amount of time; it’s what we do with that time that makes the difference. Spending a small amount of time to adjust and refine what we’re doing with the rest of our lives… This is what I’d call time well spent