Growing up with vibrant and precocious siblings, the activity in our house was always on high and the noise level was often at a fevered pitch. My mother, a fun-loving and patient woman, would generally ignore us until she would hit her limit. It was at that moment that we would hear her shout, “I can’t hear myself think!” That meant we all needed to lower the volume and, depending on the tone, we may need to vacate the premises. Mama needed to regroup, reorganize, plan, and rejuvenate for the next round.
Time to think is important for everyone. We all need quiet time to find our center, challenge ourselves, and adjust our course of action. As a small business owner who works with other small business owners I often find that “time to think” is undervalued. The owner is often so focused on what they are losing or giving up that they do not see what they are gaining. When a small business owner schedules time to think it generally means taking time away from the business and, if you are also a provider of the service or support, time away from revenue generation, administration, or one of the other dozens of roles that you play in day-to-day operations. Often, time away feels like time that has to be recovered.
Let me remind you that time to think is “executive time.” It is part of the time you dedicate to working on your business. If you are one of the many small business owners who struggle to justify time to work on their business, here are some facts to consider:
Think time results in clear direction. You are more likely to get where you are going faster if you have clear direction. Without it you will often you go in the wrong direction and have to make corrections that cost your time and money.
Think time helps you clarify what you want. Knowing what you want will help you focus your resources. It reduces trial and error. That improves your profitability and your efficiency.
Think time allows you to gain a clear vision. Having a clear vision will help you retain employees and clients. People want to know where you are going and if they should go with you. If you are well aware then you can craft messages that will allow them to make choices about loyalty.
Time to think means time to restore your energy. Being at your best all the time is difficult for small business owners. Research tells us that you are your most productive following a break. Although vacations or extended time away is something you should make time for, just a little time away from your regular routine is valuable. Being our best means we give our best to get our best.
Making time will save you time. Yes, taking time away to think about where you are going and how you are going to get there or what you want will actually help you get it. Some say you will save as much as four times the amount you spend on planning. Just one day away spent in thinking and planning can save you four days of execution work. Sounds like a great return and a solid reason to put your next executive thinking date on your calendar.