Friday, May 23, 2014

Free For All Friday No. 36: Time To Think, Space To Think

Today I did something I rarely take the time to do anymore: I sat with my planner for a good 45 minutes, and just thought. I thought about things coming up in the next weeks and months, I thought about my finances and when things are due, I thought about summer plans and insurance bills and car tax and meal planning. I filled in things in my planner as I thought of them, but mostly I thought.

I work best when I think about things ahead of time and then work my plan, rather than just dive in and do it. But I realized today I don't take the time to think like I really need to often enough.

I do my best planning-thinking at home where I have access to my computer and paper files and any other information I might need to reference while I'm planning. But I definitely understand people who do their best thinking at the coffee shop, bookstore or library where they don't have the distractions of home or office. (I do my best actual thinking while I'm walking in the forest, but that's not thinking about when to schedule my next car maintenance, it's more mind-wandering thinking.)

Do you have a favorite place where you can take the time and mental space to think? Do you do it often enough?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to discuss and/ or ask anything planner-related!

16 comments:

  1. Sunday afternoons I reserve several hours alone in my studio to think deeply about larger issues - I even set up a full size binder with current year in months and then month-block pages for the next few years, and that's what I have at hand during these hours. I tell my husband that I'm meal planning and bill paying, and I am doing that too, but mostly I am thinking about where we are headed and what needs to be done. I've been very protective of this time which feels essential to my well-being.

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    1. Christine that is excellent that you are able to block out several hours every week to allow for this thought process. I need to implement something similar so I can think of long-term plans and goals and how to make them happen.

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    2. By the way, I love this post. I love how you are writing about the contexts in which we plan as well as the planning process itself (and reviewing actual planners). I love your blog!

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    3. Thanks so much for your kind words Christine! :)

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  2. Thinking, whether the planning sort or the mind wandering sort is deeply underrated. It is hard to find the time, but unless you realise the value you won't give yourself the time so it becomes a vicious circle. I walk and think too :)

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    1. Nellie I agree, nowadays people don't value just sitting and thinking enough. We feel like we should be doing things all the time. Two things in particular kill the thought process: constantly being on electronic devices most of the day offers distraction but doesn't allow our minds to think. And, open-plan office spaces are horrible due to the constant disruption of the thought process. I know they are cheaper to build, but I think companies are going the open-plan route much to their detriment and are doing a disservice to their employees and their businesses.

      Rant over (for now!).

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    2. With you all the way on open plan offices, I hate them. I get very little done because of the constant interruptions and noise. I often wear ear plugs to try and keep the sound at bay...

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    3. I felt that I was far more productive when I worked in my own office. I wrote reports far more quickly, efficiently and without the need to alter/amend anywhere near as often than when I was moved to an open-plan layout in the interests of 'efficiency'. It is difficult to concentrate when you have people around you speaking on the phone, talking to colleagues or holding ad hoc meetings. Cramming more people into a smaller area may appear to make economic sense, but often that is to the detriment of real productivity. Glad I'm retired!

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  3. On the train. I've been travelling to Birmingham (UK) most weeks, to visit my seriously ill elderly mother. The only positive part of this has been the six hours of the return journey which has done wonders for my planning and organisation. Sometimes, just looking out of the train window and jotting down thoughts, feelings and ideas about the future can be tremendously cathartic.

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    1. Tim I'm sorry to hear your mother is very ill. I hope she will be okay. And I'm glad you have the time to sit and reflect during your journeys.

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  4. I have to steal hidden moments, but they are extremely good for a person. I remember one time I had to drive my son to town for work, I dropped him off and went to the park. I never got out of the car, but sitting in the shade of a cottonwood tree I filled in our homeschool planner for that year. It was a very enjoyable day.

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  5. I so need to do this again! I have been working flat-out for the last weeks and will take some time this weekend to see if I am still running in the right direction and how to work this into my schedule. Thanks!

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  6. For me it's at the beginning of my French class on Friday mornings. No computers to distract me, just a bit of paper and a pen and I jot down my thoughts about things I hope or try to achieve in the next few days. Today's session was quite intense and I jotted them down in a notebook. So when I got home I photocopied that page and I'm about to turn my notes in to meaningful tasks in to my A5 Filofax for the coming week :)

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  7. Great post... got me a tad out of my rut and "thinking" and carving out time for me to "think". I am the caregiver to my son who needs 24/7 intense care. When he sleeps I find myself fighting to stay awake to try to do those things that I cannot do while taking care of him. However, this post and comments have inspired me to take a drive to perhaps just sit in the car maybe in the parking lot of a Church or perhaps a coffee shop to just "think". Thank you!

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  8. I have always needed and valued my thinking time. I take an hour out daily to just walk and give my brain free reign. Sometimes I deliberately use Gendlin's Focusing techniques for the deeper problems. And it does resolve them.It is a magnificent technique and has radically changed my life, and I mean radically!! xx

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  9. I've been doing this today. Slow day at work and it's nice to have a little time to think and plan. Parts of it are making me a little stress-y, but I think it's because I haven't really had time to think, with May being such a busy month and all. I agree on sitting at my desk and needing all my things in front of me: laptop, phone, planner, paper calendars. It seems like a lot of information, but it is what it is.

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