It’s no secret that the work world values productivity. It can often seem like your worth is measured by “what have you done for me lately?” If your company provides intangible services, this often translates to working more and more hours—as if more hours equal more productivity. The trap in this thinking is that executives are valued for their strategic, critical, and creative thinking skills–constant activity impedes those very processes.
To stay at the top of your game, build in some breathing room. Thinking is often non-linear and organic. You need time to process, absorb, and ponder what you’ve learned and consider the immediate and long-term implications of new ideas. Some executives build in time when they start the day; others prefer to end their day by actively reviewing their thoughts.
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.
If you’re 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 it’s necessary to give them one. Use your judgment—that’s what you are being paid to do.