Taking Time to Sit and Think is One of the Most Productive Things You Can Do — So Why Don’t You Do It More?

Being called lazy is one of the worst things you can call an American. We take great pride in being busy and working hard.

But, what if working really hard looks like you’re being lazy? Isn’t that what happens when you’re thinking? Isn’t that where we make the biggest advances in everything we do?

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.
— Henry Ford

Henry Ford told his engineers that they should spend time everyday just thinking. He knew that was how they would come up with improvements for the factory line and new models of cars. Busy work wouldn’t do it.

Einstein published his five most famous papers while working as a junior patent clerk in a Swiss patent office. He said he had more time to think at that job, than he did once he became a science professor working at a University.

We need to schedule time to think. It is virtually impossible to be at your creative best in 5 to 10-minute increments. You can’t invent the next best thing when you let your email and text messages constantly interrupt your flow.

Thinking doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re doing some of the hardest and best work there is.

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.”
Lorraine Hansberry

Action steps: 1) Block out at least 30 minutes a day to think. Don’t allow any interruptions. If you can’t do this everyday, pick two or three days a week to do it. Let others know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Eventually increase your think time to at least 1 hour every day. (I know, that sounds crazy! But checking things off your to-do list is not going to help you create the next great thing, is it? So, take time to think.)

2) Write down every thought that comes to you that could be useful.

3) Take your best ideas and think again about how to put them into practice.

4) Take action on the best ideas. Even the perfect idea means nothing if you never take action.

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Questions for comment: How do you find time to think? What benefits come from it?

The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
— Albert Einstein