Two Powerful Tools: Being Still and 90 Minute Blocks

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I have come to enjoy and value the weekly reflections as well as Jim Bruce’s Tuesday readings.  A few weeks ago in the Tuesday reading, Be Still, I was struck by the truth and simplicity of what was written in that piece.  I thought to myself, why not use “being still” as the foundation for everything that is big or important, (or trivial for that matter) in order to contemplate the next step.  After all, don’t we often do this in many other areas of our lives?   I do it when I need to have an important conversation with a family member, before deciding whether to spend thousands of dollars on a home improvement project, and I do it in my faith - I think how often my pastor encourages being still after reading a scripture passage in order to better understand it.  

So why wouldn't we use this concept for the myriad of leadership activities and for taking time to be strategic?  Finding some time to be still in quiet contemplation in order to prepare for important meetings, to tap into that intentional persona I need to exhibit in a particular meeting, in that discussion or coaching session with a staff member, or before setting out on a new direction I need to take my team.  

I've been doing this now since I read that article and find that it is hugely helpful in being able to wrap my mind around whatever the priority for the day/week/month happens to be.  

The other concept from that same reading about arranging the day into 90 minute blocks also resonated powerfully with me.  I had been trying to block entire mornings or afternoons on my calendar as my strategy time.  Although it seemed a good idea, what I found in actuality is that it was too much time, it seemed overwhelming and I found myself wondering what I was going to do with all of it.  It was also not realistic in light of all the real work I still needed to do, so much of the time I never actually got around to the strategic stuff at all which just made me feel bad that I wasn’t as “strategic” as I should have been during that time.  

Now I simply block out one or two 90 minute periods each week on my calendar, and if I close my office door, spend the first few minutes being still and reflecting on those things I identified first thing on Monday morning while prepping for my week, I find those 90 minutes are some of the best spent minutes of my week.  

Of the many tools in my leadership toolkit, this is now one of my favorites.  What’s yours?

Have a great and productive week!

Diane

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