Can’t Find Time for Strategic Thinking? Consider This

By Harvard Business Review
August 10, 2018

Your schedule might be jam-packed, but there are ways to clear a little white space for your brain. After all, it doesn’t take long to develop good ideas.

Almost every leader wants to make more time for strategic thinking. Yet most think they lack the time for it. Here are three ways individual leaders can create the white space they need for strategic thinking:

Remember that strategic thinking doesn’t necessarily require large amounts of time. Even with limited time and the same responsibilities, it’s far easier to think strategically if you can clear the decks by doing simple things, such as writing down all your outstanding tasks in one place, to properly triage them. That way you won't be constantly interrupted by the feeling that you forgot something.

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Be clear on where your time is actually going. Try logging how you spent your time over the course of a month. It’s not the easiest project to keep up, but the resulting data will be invaluable in terms of helping you understand exactly where and how you are spending your time. It’s quite possible there are tasks you could combine, defer or outsource to help buy you extra time.

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Adopt a framework that is more conducive to deep strategic thinking. In our society, a busy schedule is often seen as a marker of our professional success. Instead of equating busyness with social status, try seeing true status as coming from having the discretion to opt out of the frenzy. By changing the way we think about staying busy, it might become easier to say no to the endless parade of obligations that skitter across our desks every day.

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

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