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Thinking slow and acting with purpose

When was the last time you made a really good decision in business and in life? Think about it. What was the decision? Where were you when you made that decision? And, what were you doing?

Chances are, you made that decision at a time when you were not distracted and able to gather your thoughts uninterrupted by the hustle and bustle of a busy workplace. As CEOs and senior executives, we are all guilty of trying to pack as much as we can into each day. Thinking fast, acting quick, responding to a flood of emails and tending to numerous meetings throughout the day. We often think that the way to be productive is to simply just be busy – all of the time!

Less really is more

This culture of productivity that emerges from the demands of a busy world also impacts on all facets of our personal lives and it is not for the better. We have forgotten how to be still, reflect and take the time to make good decisions.

Self-awareness, personal development and good decision making do not come from being ‘busy’ and (seemingly) ‘productive.’ They come from slow and deliberate reflective thought.

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review “in reflective thought, a person examines underlying assumptions, core beliefs, and knowledge, while drawing connections between apparently disparate pieces of information.”

Mastering the art of reflective thought

There are a number of ways that you can learn the art of reflective thought. You can start this by spending 20-40 minutes of your day (you can do more, it’s entirely up to you)

  • reading
  • walking alone and collecting your thoughts
  • keeping a journal or dictating thoughts to yourself to reflect on later
  • arranging a coaching session

These are also effective ways in which you can be in charge of your thoughts, put them action and remain accountable to them.

As a leader it is crucial that in time, you master this process as you are the one in control of the organisation and your decisions make or break the business. These periods of reflection can in fact be the most productive time of your day as they enable you to solve complex problems, explore a number of possibilities and engage in flexible, creative thinking.

Be accountable for your decision making

Nobody can think for you, only you are in control of your thoughts. Start today by recognising the value you will receive when you take the time to make strong, thoughtful decisions.

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