Finding time for strategy

What would you think if you walked by a colleague’s office and witnessed the scene depicted in the photo at left? Perhaps a snide comment popped into your head just now such as “must be nice to have all that extra time”.

The truth is, some of the most valuable investments we can make in our business involve decluttering the desk, clearing the mind, and giving ourselves time to think.

As much as we all might agree with that statement, the truth is we barely have time to get our daily tactical work done – never mind make time for strategic thinking.  How are we going to add quality thinking and strategic planning into our calendars?

Tips to Find Time for Strategy

  • David Allen suggests we create a single, reliable place where we store all our deliverables and deadlines (Outlook, a file folder, a drawer) and assign a doable next action to each one.   This will help us let go of the thousand details swirling around in our minds so that we can devote some clear thinking to more important matters.
  • Sit somewhere new.  Take a pad of paper to the coffee shop and let your mind wander through a gnarly problem.  Don’t answer your phone.  Don’t check email.  Doodle if you’re creative.  Sometimes revelations will arrive on the page before you even know what’s happening.
  • Take advantage of downtime during the day like sitting in the car wash or waiting for an appointment or a teleconference to start to review your main objectives.  See how many new ideas you can come up with in 2 minutes that will bring you one step closer to achieving your goals.
  • Most importantly, always know what your overall objectives are.  Write them down.  Mine are in an Outlook note that I can view and edit from my Blackberry.


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2 Replies to “Finding time for strategy”

  1. Thanks for this piece, it’s really frustrating when you can’t sit with just a pen and paper without being frowned upon. Maybe it’s the sign of a toxic work place, but if I cross someone doing something so “simple” I’ll do my best to not interrupt (or join in if I can!).

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