On any given day, I:
- Write thousands of words in emails to drive clarity and decisions
- Post thousands of words on blogs, books and social media
Thinking, driving clarity, collaborating, corresponding and sharing ideas to solve problems is part of a normal day.
I have to always be fresh in my thinking, or new problems that arise only get stale ideas that may not be innovative, fresh and fit.
I have to constantly find space for ideas. And here’s how I like to do it:
1. Read books all day long
I always read first thing in the morning as I drink my coffee and start the day. As I work, I take breaks and find ways to squeeze in chapters to read. I use an Amazon Kindle because it does not distract me. It’s lightweight and has one function – reading.
I find it amazing that I can spend a few hours and get the benefits of an expert’s vantage point and breadth of work for very little money and with well-thought out research and ideas that they have tested in their own life. I get to live thousands of lives. It’s a multiplier effect.
2. Talk to smart people that examine their life
I do agree with Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I like people who examine their lives so they can gain wisdom. When you think about how Harvard teaches business, it is through the case study method. At its core, it is a way to be reflective on what has happened and examine it.
We are continually making decisions and getting outcomes. If we are in reflective conversations with people who help us look at the case studies of our business and life, we are the better for it. And we find new ideas and ways to approach things. We strengthen our intuition and learn lessons from the mistakes and the triumphs.
3. Sit with a pad of paper
I’m in a world of efficiency, inputs and outputs when I am in front of a computer, iPad or iPhone. The medium lends itself to narrowing focus and convergence.
This is all great for getting those pressing problems solved. But I also need space to think and diverge in my thoughts. That’s a different cadence and momentum.
A pad of paper and pen is all I need. I can scribble, freedraw, mindmap, capture thoughts and let my mind work on something undefined.
I can come up with random ideas and push my brain like a muscle to get creative and think broadly.
Unplugging and just letting the mind wander is therapeutic and invigorating. You don’t know where things will wander, and in that time and space you gain the benefits of generating ideas you may not have had working in the grind.
How do you find space for your ideas?