Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking time for reflection

In the past couple of months, I've officially become a Twitter fanatic. Because I'm following some really smart people, I always find information that is relevant to my work, and I'm also finding that people are starting to use the direct message function as an alternative to email. So, I've got to check in at least once a day and usually more.

Of course, I get about a zillion emails a day -- like everyone else. And of course I'm on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Skype, Plaxo, etc. and I talk on my cellphone enough to worry about all those electronic waves my head is absorbing. Oh, yes, and I do have clients and "regular" work and I'm writing a couple of books.

Yep, it's official: I'm busy. And I'll bet you are too.

I find that as things get busier, it's even more important to push the "pause" button occasionally. In a communications model I developed, I put "intrapersonal" communication at the center. It's critical to take time for reflection in both your life and your work.

I build reflection time into the designs I do for meetings -- participants need time to digest ideas and develop new ones. I council senior executives to build "white space" into their calendars. And I hold a very small retreat once a year for some of the top senior communication professionals in the world to come and just have a good conversation with their colleagues.

I live in Essex, CT and yesterday I had meetings in New York. I love to take the train so that I can work while I'm going into the city. But yesterday, I decided I was just going to look out the window -- on the way down and on the way back. It was wonderful. I noticed daffodils, a huge line of people at a highway exit hoping to be picked up for day work (much much longer than usual), crumbling infrastructure, unfinished building projects, a Broadway Poster for Mary Poppins (I need to take my son!), the familiar area surrounding the train station in the town where I used to live, the faces of people waiting on train platforms, an egret in a pond right beside the track and much more. Looking out the window for a few hours reconnected me to the world.

So my advice is, "Take a break." Everything will still be there when you get back.

No comments:

Post a Comment