We’re just weeks away from the start of fall. Have you taken some time off this summer?
Taking time away from work or study and truly unplugging feels luxurious but it’s also necessary for you to do your best thinking. When you take a break, you give yourself time to think. Time to step back and reflect on your goals or your creative ideas.
But, you don’t always need to go on vacation to give your brain the break it needs. You can improve your thinking by taking breaks in smaller ways. Here are three examples.
- Big-picture thinking. When we’re caught up in day-to-day work, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. By taking a break we have a chance to look at the big picture. We give ourselves time to ask the question: why are we doing this? And when we do that, we can reconnect with the purpose of all of this work. To aid big picture thinking: Move. Ideally, get outside. When we move, blood flows to the brain, making more oxygen available to power your thinking. Check out more ideas in my earlier blog post: “I move therefore I think”.
- Creative thinking. Taking a break gives your ideas time to percolate and form. Give your unconscious mind time to bring you the right solution. For example, if you’re writing, generating marketing ideas, or creating a new product, you’ll want to be at your creative best. To make it happen: Get away from your computer. Even if you don’t leave your office, try working an idea out on paper or a whiteboard. It will at least get you away from the distraction of email, instant messaging and the web.
- Making decisions. When working with others, we sometimes rush to agreeing to a decision or action. This puts pressure on people to go along with the idea, before they’ve had a chance to consider the implications and voice important concerns. To improve decision-making, take a break of a day or two between sharing options and asking for a decision. This will help you and your team to consider obstacles and mitigate risks, rather than being caught by surprise later.
What do you find works best for you to improve the quality of your thinking?
If you’d like our help in getting your team to think differently, check out our Fostering Innovation workshop or get in touch.