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There are a couple of VERY IMPORTANT things I know that are key to success; one is journaling goals and the other is THINKING.  While both of these seem very simple, they are a challenge to honor as a personal commitment.  Writing my goals (i.e. financial, personal, family, business) daily and setting aside time just to think and access truly creative ideas and thoughts can seem also beyond what time allows.  A friend of mine, Archie Tinelli, shared his thoughts on TIME To THINK in his newsletter this week and I want to share those with YOU! Cynthia de Lorenzi, Founder and CEO of Success in the City

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I’ve spent a lot of time on planes and trains during the last several weeks, thinking.

It was a bit unusual, I must admit, to have time to think and not have to be working on something continuously. It happened, not because I planned for it, but because I was confined in the same place, with little opportunity to move around, and did not want to talk to my seatmates.

I relished the opportunity. And, I realized that many of the leaders with whom I work have little or no time to think.

Now, I don’t mean that they don’t use their brains – they do. But what they don’t have is large blocks of uncommitted time when they can think deeply about their businesses and themselves.

What are the effects of not having time to think? I’ve noticed a few:

First and foremost, leaders are on treadmills – they are constantly on the go, moving rapidly from one meeting to the next, rarely with any free time at all, as they catch meals on the run and work late into the night and on weekends.

The demand to fit more into less time is great – meetings are scheduled back-to-back, conference calls are squeezed into the few blocks of time left in the day, including during commutes and between other meetings. Time becomes a commodity to be compressed and controlled and dispensed, with ROI uppermost in mind.

This means that problems and opportunities are allotted only the available time on the schedule and not afforded the full and complete amount of time needed to delve deeply into the root causes, to explore the varying levels of complexity, and to investigate and evaluate all the possible alternatives and options.

Full and complete analysis is lost because of the constraints of time. Incomplete solutions and inadequate plans are often the result.

The second effect I’ve noticed is that leaders seem less in control, not only of their personal lives, but also of the businesses they are expected to lead.

It’s difficult to lead when you don’t have much control over your work day, when the demands of the job impose limits on what you can and cannot do, and when the work you really want to accomplish is relegated to the back burner or is left only partially done.

The gnawing sense that there are things you know you should be doing, but which you don’t have time for, intrudes. Some leaders respond by trying to do even more – they work longer hours, try to fit in even more meetings, and lose any kind of perspective on where work ends and a personal life begins.

The leaders I know and work with who have figured out a better solution are those who first realized the significance of the problem. They assessed the effect on them of the pressure to do more in the time they have.

What about you? Do you have enough time to do the thinking that’s needed to do your work? Are you able to delve deeply into the problems and opportunities that lie ahead? Are you in control of your time and your work?

If not, what steps can you take to make the time to think?

Archie Tinelli is a Leadership Coach based in the Washington, DC region. 

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