Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Power of Reflective Thinking

Beautiful weather we have been having. A bit of snow. Warm (but not warm enough to melt it)

I always like adding to my Time Management Systems. Wall Street Journal had a great article that adds to my thoughts.

I have been over busy lately. I know that I create my own busyness. Something in me does not allow me to not be super busy. I think to some extent it also helps my productivity. I feel the weight of everything I have on so I work hard at being efficient.

At some level though I know this busyness hurts my truly greatest value. My creativity. We all need time to reflect.

So of course to add to the pressure I read a book. Consider Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization by Daniel Forrester.

When anything is referred to as powerful it makes it seem well more powerful.

There is a huge push in business for a bias to action. This is what Forrester argues (successfully) actually can hurt the business more than help it.

The book refers to the email abuse that causes much of the "rush" for most of us.

From an article by Forrester:

"It was said that Thomas Edison would often take his fishing rod, sit at the end of the pier, cast away, and then just sit there for hours. However, he would never put any bait on his hook. He didn't really want to catch any fish. What he wanted to do was to sit there uninterrupted, just reflecting on the issues of the day, on his work, or on whatever else came into his mind. He knew that if he looked as if he were fishing, no one would bother him, so he could reflect uninterrupted. All he really wanted to do was catch ideas. Edison singed many pictures for friends and admirers filled with the visionaries' advice. To one friend he said, "All things come to him who hustles while he waits. Your friend, Thomas Edison."

I buy into the theory. I even try (largely unsuccessfully) to practice it. The challenge I see in business is would anyone tolerate a bunch of people simply sitting in their offices staring into space. Not sure they would be the people getting the promotions.

The book provoked thought (which for me makes it a good book) and perhaps ironically made me think of a plan of how I could get reflective time. Of course perhaps because I am so caught up in my busyness, many of my ideas do double duty. Reflective time and something else (in most cases exercise). My top 7 are:

1 - Take a walk

2 - Go for a run

3 - Close my eyes on trains and planes sometimes (to reflect - not sleep)

4 - Do manual chores around the house. When I was in high school I painted houses and recall this provided a lot of time to think since the task itself was not all consuming.

5 - Close my door

6 - re-analyze my busy to see what can be eliminated

7 - block time for reflection including a relaxation process to still my mind.

And of course I know in order to make this a good plan, I need to be more specific. How often, when, where etc. So still working on it.


At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try adding things to your to-do list (since you are driven by such requirements). You might try adding items as basic as 15 mins of silence, 20 min to appreciate nature (go sit in a park on a bench), enjoy the sunshine, walk the dog, You might also try meditation. I already perceive you as a bit more reflective than many. I think that you are doing some reflection while you read.

I'm a big believer in reflection. It is a key component of learning.

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Jody Urquhart said...

I love the analogy from Thomas Edison, fishing with no bait, just to get time to reflect. If he had bait, he would be too focused on fishing.

I find I don't have the time to reflect so i get up early- well before anyone else- so I can think about my day

I also find blogs force you to reflect by reading others ideas and trying to understand it from your own perspective.
Great blog

At 2:51 AM, Blogger vishal said...

You may never real management lessons in life unless you find the real meaining of life. It is well given in Bhagwad Geeta. The work hampers our life because, we do it as a work. Geeta says: If u do any work without the feeling of 'samarpan'( means without attaching ur personal pride, u will definitely find dissatisfaction.

Vishal Mantri

At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Increase Workplace Productivity said...

All the activities you mentioned are great for de-stressing. But then again, not a lot of people have the time to alot to those. Like me. What can you advice?

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Clarity is key. Getting away from the stresses of every day life for even thirty minutes a day not only decreases a cluttered mind but helps you to simplify and overcome many obstacles without strenuous effort. I'm glad you touched on this as it is one of the most vital tools in becoming successful in whatever you are doing. I tip my hat to this blog.


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