Too Busy to Think

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As a marketer, I often find myself so caught up in the daily grind that I’m just too busy to think. Whether I’m swamped with client meetings, stretched thin from producing kick-awesome deliverables, or overwhelmed with proposals and sales support, it’s easy to mentally check out and keep moving at a comfortable pace without any regard for progress and chances for improvement.

A couple of weeks ago, Peter Bregman wrote a great killer article on HBR about time management, and, you guessed it, what to do when you don’t have time to think. He used an analogy that really got me thinking about how to better manage my time and use it for what we were born to do: think and innovate. In short, he described a recent business trip in which he was booked at a Four Seasons hotel with two buildings, each separated by 11 acres of garden. Much to his dismay, the majority of his meetings were held in the building opposite of the one he was staying in. Having  a busy and hectic schedule that week, he was concerned about “lost time” spent walking the garden, but found himself taking longer and longer each time he walked it because it gave him time to think.

Regardless of whether your function is in creative, strategy, account management, or even sales – the more time you have to think about your client, company, and challenges often amounts to more time innovating and getting results. Who doesn’t need a little more of THAT? 

Soon after reading the article, I started thinking about how I could tap into my 11 acre garden- the local fitness center. Working in a fast-paced agency setting in an even faster-paced industry like search engine marketing, I find myself at the gym between 4 and 6 times per week. Doing so keeps me mentally sane, physically fit, and strategically sound as that’s where I used to catch up on WebmasterRadio.fm podcasts (Note: I do realize this is not normal). For the week or so, however, I’ve been trying something different. Instead of listening to the latest edition of “Office Hours” (Sorry, Vanessa!), I’ve started thinking… about anything and everything.

It may seem like a no-brainer, and you’re probably thinking “What the heck, this guy never stopped to think about things?!?!” but I’ll bet a lot of people don’t take time out of their busy schedule to just think. I’m curious to know how everyone else handles the balance between work, personal life, and “personal time”. If you have any tips that work for you, feel free to share them!

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  1. Great post Anthony! I think you are spot on…we do sometimes lose site of simply just “thinking” at times. I personally like to spend the 45 minute drive home doing the same thing. Radio is never on and all I do is recap the day, think of strategic advice for clients, or efficiencies and deliverable improvements for the team.

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