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Half A Year Of Think Days

Half a year of think days

Last year, I read about the idea of having one day per month to think and strategize – and I found the idea so attractive that I decided to implement it for myself. I may not have the time to spend a week per year as a “think week”, but I can find some time each month to think.

Here are some of my impressions of what I have learned from setting aside some time each month:

  • It is difficult to find an entire day: I have never been away for an entire day for a think day. There has always been at least one or two important meetings to attend to, and I have maximum been able to spend some time in a coffee place and then grab lunch for myself. In some cases, I used the time my daughter has classes on Saturdays to catch up on my think day, as other things crowded it out completely.
  • Even when time is short, reflecting is relevant: Taking a step back, and thinking about the broader picture of my research, my career, and my working styles is still super relevant. Sketching out priorities, as well as long-term plans, has been helpful in making decisions these past months.
  • Think days pair well with planning and goal setting: I have been reflecting on various topics in my think days (how to make a “big leap”, thinking strategically and long-term about my career, aligning work with my strengths, strategizing my research plans, balancing research and leadership, and aligning work with core values). These topics go deeper than my typical planning and goal-setting, and provide a better basis for planning and goal-setting by challenging me to think about where I want to make an impact.
  • ChatGPT is useful for designing think days: I have been designing my think days (objectives, activities and journaling prompts) together with ChatGPT and I am quite happy with the outcome.

All in all, I plan to keep on setting aside 10 days per year (one day per month, except in June and July) to reflect and think about the broader aspects of my work.

Have you tried finding time for strategic thinking about your work?

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