Many of my coaching clients complain that they don’t have ‘thinking time’. They struggle to set aside – and keep set aside! – time in their diary for developing new ideas. They moan that they’re just too busy with urgent issues to make the time available.

I used to ask them to be more disciplined, to ink out a weekly two-hour slot in their calendar and to keep it sacrosanct. They would dutifully nod their head, without enthusiasm, but we both knew that the issue had not been resolved.

It’s similar to my relationship with the gym. I know I need to go there three times a week, but somehow it feels more optional than other tasks. In fact, I only stick to the discipline if two other factors are in place: first, if there’s someone there to keep me accountable; and, second, I need to have an end goal, a specific event that I’m training for (usually some interminably long bike ride!).

It’s the same for business leaders. You will only stick to regular ‘thinking time’ if you have both real accountability for your thinking and an event when you need to share the results of your ruminations.

One of my clients has created a shortlist of topics he wants to lead the thinking on for his business, taken one issue and agreed to run a session on that issue at an executive meeting in two months’ time when the CEO will hold him to account.

Are you struggling to find time to develop new ideas? Clarify the scope and purpose of your thinking, set up an event where you’re committed to offering your new insights and you’ll find that the ‘thinking time’ slots will magically remain in your diary.


Off The Record: Time by Pink Floyd

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town

Waiting for someone or something to show you the way


© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.