It is amazing how much time you can waste sitting in front of a pc or with a smartphone, doing e-mail, messaging, and probing the internet. The same is true with meetings.
Strong leaders face reality and develop a plan for progress. You need quality thinking and analysis time to do that. I was struck by a story I read in Forbes a few weeks ago where the CEO of Panera Bread was on vacation sitting on a beach when he finally concluded he needed to spin off Au Bon Pain in order to focus on the higher potential Panera restaurant concept. Personally, I have found that long flights, which create periods of no interruptions, are unusually productive in thinking through tough issues.
But we shouldn’t have to wait for vacation or a long flight to do some quality thinking! Here are some tips for achieving more thinking and less churning:
1) Avoid constantly checking messages and sitting in front of a pc doing e-mail, etc. Schedule a couple of time periods during the day to do those things.
2) Minimize and shorten meetings. Require that pre-reading be sent out, and don’t re-hash the material in the meeting; immediately get to the key issues.
3) Schedule “think periods” during the day, where you can analyze and think through the big issues and not be interrupted.
What are some suggestions that have worked for you?