Taking A Think Week
One of the strategies that I adopted to help me recover my health was to take one week a month away from the day to day pressures of work. The plan was that I would still work, but I would withdraw from meetings, email and other distractions. Instead I would use the extra time to:
- Catch up with my reading backlog
- Listen to audio books that had a tie in to my work
- Increase my mobility levels a bit
- Spend more time meditating
- Spend more time thinking
At first I tried to do this at home, but I found it didn’t work that well. I found that being in the same environment I just adopted the same routine as well, often getting drawn back into the office by some important or attractive task. What’s worked better has been to take a few days to travel to places that I know well. The break in routine provides some creative stimulation and the lack of any household activates gives me more time.
I’ve found these so called ‘think weeks’ to be extremely effective, sometimes for surprising reasons:
- The fact that I’m not in the office for a week a month (actually two weeks now because I take a weeks holiday most months) means that I rarely get drawn into urgent work. This means I get to be one of the few people to really focus on important but not urgent work
- Spending some time away from home means I typically have two long drives that I spend listening to audio books
- Not having to travel to the office and being away from the comforts and distractions of home means that I spend more time in coffee shops and walking. I find these to be extremely creative times. For example I often have 20 minutes of audio notes that I generate on a long walk
- Being on my own I’m sometimes a bit lonely and bored. Boredom is incredibly useful as it stimulates creativity in me and it also encourages me meditate more. Being a little lonely helps me appreciate my wonderful family, friends and colleagues at work.
- I normally come back to work full of ideas, rested and energised
The photo above is of Swansea Marine, one of my favourite think week locations, good cafes, long walks around the bay and along the cliffs and a very long drive.