In our modern society we’re so used to being reachable all the time that we have less and less quiet time for reflection. In turn, this affects our ability to assess where we are going in our lives and to grow personally and professionally. When you’re in the midst of a career change, you absolutely must build in quiet time during your day. Perhaps you think this is impossible, but it can be done.
Nicki was at the height of her professional career as a busy executive in a marketing firm. She also had three children, as well as other responsibilities. To find time to focus on her career change, she and her husband scheduled time where Nicki went to Panera once a week while he watched their children. It wasn’t as difficult as she’d imagined.
Justin went to his local McDonald’s where they had free Wi-Fi because he’d recently moved and his Internet wasn’t set up. He spent at least one night a week after work, researching online and brainstorming career ideas.
You’ll notice in these two examples I’m not talking about down time, but rather active time spent on this process. Time when you turn off your Crackberry, unplug yourself from the world, and focus on the task at hand.
But down time is important too. Making time for relaxation and meditation is different from turning off your Crackberry. I compare it to the time artists or writers take to step back from their work when they encounter some creative block. Instead of forcing an outcome, they take a break and allow the mind to work it out on its own schedule. It works brilliantly. Let the solutions simmer in the back of your mind instead of pushing them into place. Read a book, take a walk, meditate, take a yoga class, play basketball, whatever is fun for you. When you do, often you’ll come up with a more creative or better solution to the problem at hand.
This is an organic process that needs to unfold. You help it along by allowing your mind to make connections it wouldn’t have if you hadn’t given it that quiet reflective time.
Action step: Try these two strategies this week: find quiet time to work on your research (shoot for about two hours) and schedule other quiet time (every day, even if it’s just for twenty minutes). See how you fare and what connections you make by giving your mind the time and space it needs.