Technology is great. I love that we can listen to music, check email, surf the Internet, check stocks/weather and can call anyone we want with a little portable device that goes everywhere with us. Anytime we have down time or are waiting for the next act in our circus we can be productive or enjoy a little entertainment.
But the flip side to this is that we can fill our time and our minds just about every moment in our day with something. When do we have time to think, ponder or contemplate? Do we take the time anymore to just listen to the thoughts going on in our brain or do we fill the time with music, email, social media, entertainment or the Internet? Down time is very important and we do need to take mental intermissions. But there is a balance where we need to sometimes hit the mute button and just think thoughts. It is important to turn off the distractions for some amount of time for "productive deep thinking" away from the mode of "doing stuff." What "ahas" have you found in your moments of solitude and reflection?
Remove as best as you can any interruptions (unplug the phones, log off the computer, close the door, tell everyone that you have an appointment with yourself for the next 30 minutes and can't be bothered unless the building is on fire). Have a list of items that you want to "think about." It could be a project you are working on, your family, your goals and dreams, strategy, a marketing plan, your next book, your career plan, who am I in the universe... and so on. Focus on one item at a time. Break the topic apart in your mind. Take notes. Listen for inspiration. Brainstorm. Stay focused. Maybe you only get through one item on your list. Allocate time each day to think.
If your day is so intense that you can't take the time to find a quiet place without distractions, be creative. What about during the commute? Turn the radio off and think while you drive. Put away the book, put in ear phones without turning on the MP3 player, close your eyes and think while riding the bus or subway. What about the time just before bed or when you are just waking up?
You don't have to think alone. Bring in your significant other or your work team on occasion. Pick a topic and brainstorm. There doesn't need to be an agenda. Think outside the box. Discuss vision. Are we on the right course? What should we be doing differently? What are we doing right? Write thoughts on the board. Be creative.
It is easy to fill our minds and our days with information, stuff that we need to do, stimulus and distractions. The goal is to carve out some time for focused...deep...thinking. You will be amazed at the "thoughts you will think."