Think day

The end of December is holiday season in most parts of the world. And, traditionally, there’s a lot to do during these days. There’s a good chance you’ve got some travel planned or are having a family get together at home. I’m sure there are more things you’d like to do with your time than there is time. Nevertheless, here’s one idea I’d love to throw in the mix – take a “think day.”

There are 3 broad ways to approach the think day –

1. A career focused think day. A career focused think day can be about thinking deeply about how things are going in your career. What are you doing well? What could you be doing better? Are there skills you’d like to focus on in 2017?

2. A craft/industry focused think day. When you are in the thick of things, it is hard to focus on what is going on with your craft or industry. So, how about taking a day to read and think about what is happening in your industry? Find an industry analyst or publication you trust and go through their summary of important changes in 2016 and predictions for 2017.

3. A life focused think day. Take time for an audit of how things have been going in 2016. Pick 2-3 things you’d like to focus on, see if you can roll it up into a theme and make a simple plan for daily/weekly practices to help execute these themes. The key here is simple. If you can’t remember it off the top of your head, it is probably too complicated.

Of course, there’s enough in here for three days (or more). But, starting with just one day dedicated to one of these would be a huge win. The beauty about a think day is that there isn’t a clear outcome expected. Instead, the only thing that matters is that you go through the process. The fact that most people around us are slowing down means we finally have the bandwidth to take stock.

So, here’s to giving it a shot.

PS: If you are feeling too busy for a think day, Bill Gates used to take a “think week” twice a year.

Audit

An audit is an inspection of an organization’s processes typically conducted by a third party. I love the idea of an annual audit and I think I’ve become more conscious about the process over time. And, this year, I am thinking about the various parts of my life as I aim to commit to a few practices for the coming year.

For starters, I tend to take a concentric circle view when I think of my priorities.

This builds on a simple principle – you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. However, the prioritization that follows is personal. I think of my people, my work and my community (service) as the priorities that follow – in that order. So, here are some questions I’m asking myself. This isn’t an exhaustive list of the question I should be asking as I’m focused on areas I most want to improve.

Me
How can I eat healthier?
How can I be fitter?
What is my information diet looking like? How can it be less, but better?

My people
How can I be more conscious in my relationships?

My career
How can I organize my workday better to make sure I’m tapping maximum productivity?
Post kid, how do I embrace more flexibility in terms of when I work without letting it affect my engagement at home?
How can I take the time to synthesize what is going in tech?
How can we manage our finances better?

My community/service
How do I define service?

I’ll aim to write about the results of these questions over the next few days.