It’s no secret that the corporate world values productivity. How often have you heard that your worth is measured by “what have you done for me lately?” In service businesses, this often translates to working more and more hours—as if more hours equals more productivity. The trap is that executives are valued for their strategic, critical, and creative thinking skills, and constant activity impedes those very processes.
To stay at the top of your game, build in some time to think. Quiet time is necessary even for those people who process information externally. You know the type: they’re the people in meetings who take you step by step through their entire thought process. But that’s their learning style—not their actual thinking process.
Build time in at the beginning of a new workday or at the end of your day to process, absorb, and consider the immediate and long-term implications of new ideas. When pushed to make a decision that needs more consideration, stall for time. This isn’t procrastination, it’s giving due diligence to important issues facing your business or industry. Just because others want an immediate answer doesn’t mean you should do so.
Executives who schedule breathing space into their daily routine are actually more productive. Because everyone thinks and processes information in different ways, be aware of what you need personally to bring your best thinking to an issue.
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