It’s now my habit to nominate one week a month as a ‘Thinkweek’ modelled loosely on Bill Gates scheduled research weeks of the same name, but more frequent. Having taken 12 Thinkweeks last year I’ve come to appreciate them greatly and they’ve delivered considerable benefits in the form of time to reflect, to broaden my perspective and most importantly time to recover my strength, rest and relax.
Last year a Thinkweek typically took the following form, I wouldn’t do any ‘work’, I would book a short break in a hotel and spend the week listening to audio-books, reading, thinking, meditating all mostly while walking or cycling. It provided an escape from pressures at work and home, but the change of scenery also helped with creativity. I came to greatly appreciate audio-books as a way of stimulating new perspectives and learning new stuff while keeping moving (regular movement being a key therapy for me).
This year I’m changing the format of my Thinkweeks, as part of evolving my whole monthly schedule. I’m now taking a weeks holiday every month which will most definitely not be focussed on thinking about work, and because I will be going away from home for these holidays I will be staying home during most Thinkweeks. Staying home provides me with the opportunity to schedule daily walking meetings over the course of the week, these will be longer meetings than usual and designed to allow for broader and more strategic discussions and will include plenty of time for personal discussions as well. I’m also reading more analyst reports and writing more in the form of blog posts.
All things considered this means I will be working a little more this year, but I will be taking more holiday, moving more and my stress levels should be the same or lower and my work relationships a little stronger (work relationships can be hard to sustain when you only work a few hours a week).
I’ve been keen to establish walking meetings as part of my regular routines, and I’m fortunate that Thinkweeks have provided the perfect excuse.