Actually, I miss the days, when I lived in Chicago, of having a 40-minute commute. I got into the habit of keeping the radio off and using that precious time to just think. Review the day ahead. Issues I needed to tackle. Opportunities I wanted to conquer. With some quiet, focused time in the car, I benefitted greatly from this forced solitude.
Meditation with my eyes wide open.
OK – that was a stretch, but you get the point.
In 2020, there’s zero downtime. Everyone owns a pair of Beats, AirPods, or some type of headphone—and they’re not for minimizing noise. They’re for pushing more noise and information into our brains. I’m drowning in podcasts. I can’t possibly consume everything I’ve subscribed to. You too? (Here’s a tip: Cancel them all and just listen to FranklinCovey’s On Leadership with Scott Miller—it’s all you need to know anyway.)
The onslaught of information has hit a tipping point. Ask yourself, where and when do you do your best thinking? Or do you even think anymore? Alone. In the quiet. Just focused and thinking. Planning. Solving. Creating. Reflecting. Enjoying. Appreciating.
Or are you just consuming?
It’s likely that none of us are thinking as much as we’d like to. Need to. Especially those in leadership positions where the demands are ceaseless. To quote FranklinCovey’s Chairman and CEO Bob Whitman, “Thinking is a legitimate business activity.”
Today, scale back your “doing” and scale up your “thinking.” Take the proverbial shower on the road, and walk around the block, corporate campus, or neighborhood. Leave your phone at home. And your Beats, AirPods, or headphones. Just put your keys in your pocket and go for a walk.
See where your mind takes you. It might be truly freeing. If you’re facing a particular issue that needs resolution, focus only on that topic during your walk, and see if you can clarify some next steps without any music, news, traffic updates, or tweets bombarding your mind.
Forgive me, my shower is going to be longer tomorrow morning. I got some stuff to solve.
FranklinCovey Executive Vice President, Though Leadership