Creating time for reflection

Tony Schwartz describes how a completely offline, two week vacation enabled him to think about longer term, strategic issues, in a way that his hectic daily schedule doesn’t allow for. (Thanks to Rachael Granby for forwarding this.) He concludes:

It’s not possible to race between meetings and e-mail all day long, and simultaneously reflect on what all this frenzied activity is accomplishing. We can’t think outside the box when we’re simply running around inside it. It doesn’t make sense to do more and more, faster and faster, if we’re not stopping intermittently to ask why we’re doing what we’re doing.

I’ve already introduced two experiments in my company this week.

The first is to offer all of our employees the opportunity to take time away from the office, simply for reflection. All I ask is that they come back afterward and share with their colleagues, in some form, whatever insights they’ve had.

The second is to introduce two 15-minute periods a day during which people are invited to come into our conference room and sit quietly, in meditation, or simply reflecting — one at the start of the day, the second at midafternoon.

Do you think this will work?

4 thoughts on “Creating time for reflection

  1. I find my 20-minute walk to work one of the most highly reflective moments of my day. That said, it’s very tempting to revert back to being reactionary upon sitting down at my desk. I challenge myself to proactively set goals for 10-15 minutes each morning before evening opening my first e-mail.

  2. I don’t like the idea of sitting quietly in a group setting. I think mid-day fatigue is a serious issue, especially in aggressive companies where employees often stay up late working. I think siesta couches in a quiet space where an employee doesn’t need to feel like a slacker for taking a snooze would be a boon.

    As far as his first suggestion, I think turning it into a task (“All I ask is that they come back afterward and share with their colleagues, in some form, whatever insights they’ve had”) detracts from the idea. It’s as if he’s trying to micro-manage them even while they take some quiet time to think creatively. Of course a company should encourage people in creative positions to feel free to take a stroll if that’s what works for them.

  3. Pingback: How to clear time for deep thinking | A Founder's Notebook

  4. Pingback: Group brainstorming doesn’t lead to creativity; this does | A Founder's Notebook

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