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If your thoughts are turning to how you can grow your training business over the next 12 months, then one strategy I’d personally recommend is to make time for a regular ‘Thinking Day’. A Thinking Day is a reoccurring day built into your schedule to think about the big picture stuff within your business.
Entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Bill Gates have spoken about their commitment to taking time out to think about the direction of their business. In fact, Bill Gates apparently takes two ‘think’ weeks out of the office each year to concentrate on some big picture thinking.
Although a fortnight might not be practical for smaller businesses, a day can work well. Some business owners even send their employees home for an occasional paid Thinking Day. Barry Glassman of Glassman Wealth Services said in an article for Forbes that his staff take one Thinking Day a quarter to unplug from the office ‘for the purpose of devising new ideas and directions for the firm as a whole’. Most of them spend their time listening to talks on Ted.com to update their knowledge and thinking in key areas.
Key questions for your Thinking Day
A Thinking Day is dedicated, interruption-free time for you to get strategic about your business vision or update your skills. Ask yourself questions such as:
- What have I achieved over the past 12 months?
- What are my goals for the next month, quarter and year?
- Where do I want my business to be in five years’ time?
- What’s working well within my business?
- What isn’t working and what do I need to change?
- What skills do I need to refine or update?
Ways to fill your Thinking Day
It can be easy to let a Thinking Day pass you by without achieving anything productive, perhaps because you have so much to think about. Just the idea that you have to sit down and think about the big issues within your business can be intimidating, and many of us don’t perform well on demand.
I find it helpful to have a rough plan for my next Think Day.
You might want to spend some of the day reading articles or downloads that you’ve been hanging on to for a while. If so, why not set up a Think Day folder and pop all your planned reading into there or bookmark some industry-relevant talks on Ted.com?
It can also be helpful to make some advance notes about what you want to think about and why. You could always treat yourself to a dedicated Thinking Day notebook (or is it just me that thinks new stationery is a wonderful treat?!)
Remember, a Thinking Day is not a day to catch up your admin, emails or quotes. The aim is to leave the nitty-gritty, time-consuming and never-ending tasks to one side while you think about how you can make your business work better for you, attract more clients and be more profitable.
Make a commitment
With so much to keep you busy within your business, it can be easy to let your Thinking Day slide because there are other demands on your time. For a Thinking Day to be productive, it needs to be a solid, regular commitment. Mark it in your diary, let your colleagues and clients know that you’re busy – you can even tell them why – and don’t push it back for anyone unless there really is a life or death reason.
I would recommend that you turn off your phone and email for the day so that people can’t interrupt you or take over your agenda with their own. And so that no-one can enter your thinking space, hold your think day away from the office, either at home, in a café or somewhere else that you find conducive to work.
Like those entrepreneurs that champion the Thinking Day, I find that having a whole day of focused time to think about my business makes me come back to my
desk and training activities feeling recharged, full of purpose and incredibly productive.
Why don’t you give it a go and let me know how you get on?