Here’s a story from a year or so ago. One day about six and a half weeks before a cruise we were going on. It suddenly hit me that our passports were expired and our son didn’t even have one. That’s right even after all of my careful planning, I hadn’t even thought about passports. We ended up having to check our son out of school, go to the post office, spend $4oo, and hopefully they will be here in a month. My husband started to say something on the way home but I gave him a look and said, “I do mess up…once in awhile.” I swear it’s because I simply don’t have enough time to think!
Yes, I make To Do lists, keep up with bills, and meet deadlines etc. However, most of the time when I sit down to see if I have forgotten anything about my day, my week, or my life, I get interrupted. Either the dog is attacking the cats, the cats are attacking each other, my son is yelling for me to come and look at something, or the phone will ring. I even distract myself with e mail, social media, and phone calls (which are my black holes we will discuss at another time).
To save myself, I have come up with a list of ways to give myself more time to think.
Here are 11 ways to make time in your life to just think:
1.) Be Better Organized
Don’t laugh but I need to get better organized. I say don’t laugh because I am a former professional organizer. Just because I know what I should do doesn’t mean I am always doing it. I need to simplify my routines. I need to do my best to create the next days agenda before I am too tired to think about it. Otherwise I will waste time the next morning skimming social media wondering what I should be working on.
2.) Morning Time
I should put off checking e mail and social media until after I have had a cup of tea with some Bible study, go on my morning walk, and do a few chores.
3.) Porch Time
I should take time out in the day to grab a pen and notebook and go outside, sit on the porch and just think.
4.) Lunch Break
For lunch if I am home I usually make lunch and that is my time to turn on the TV, check the news, or watch a show. If I am desperate or know things are coming up I need to focus on, I could skip all that and think.
5.) Bath Time
One of the only times I get to think is in the bath. I do a lot of praying and a lot of thinking.
Switching up a routine can spur the thought process. Try to drive a different way home and stop at a park for 15 minutes. Visit to the library or Starbucks to plan instead of visiting the kitchen table or office desk.
This may work for some but his is hard for me. When I am exercising I really have to find a zone to trick my body to think it’s not really exercising. So I usually watch Netflix while on the treadmill. I usually try not to think. However, my husband loves to think while he is running. It’s how he clears his head.
8.) Hiking/Mountain Biking
This works much better for me to think. I have to think hard to save me from the misery my legs and lungs are usually in. A good hike or mountain bike ride clears my head. Does that count as thinking?
9.) Setting Boundaries
This is hard because it’s all about setting boundaries. For example, in the past my son would be practicing gymnastics on the couch (don’t worry they are old couches). He called me in the room with a sense of urgency. I told him I was working, He kept calling. Finally, I got up and went ( I was a sucker-no boundaries). When I get there he’s lying on the couch. “You called me in here for this,” I asked. He said, “Boo.” Really? He didn’t get that I was working because I was a sucker who hadn’t enforced that boundary very well.
10.) Spouse Interruptions
My husband rarely interrupts so I can’t make this about him. I do have a client whose husband always interrupts and she’s so sweet she always helps him. Its sweet but not productive. Hubbies need to realize the same way kids do that most of the time it can wait while mommy/wife is working. My husband has his own thinking time and it usually involves a glass of wine, fantasy football, or a crossword puzzle (all while sitting in the bathroom, well maybe not the wine part).
11.) Pet Interruptions
We have a dog that aggravates one of our cats, and cats that aggravate each other, so you hear all kinds of noise. The cat sounds like it’s being killed so I always jump up. However, the cats make the same sounds when they play together. So I have determined all of this noise is, “Cat Drama.” Unless I hear an animal in pain they are going to have to fend for themselves! I’m setting a pet boundary!