Time and Space to Think

I just spent a jam-packed 5 weeks – 2 weeks planning, arranging, organizing, fighting-for and getting ready for my trip; 2 weeks traveling, meeting people, navigating and learning; and 1 week jamming a month’s worth of work to meet the 30 April accounting deadline.

I built time into my travel schedule. I had several overnight traveling options and I stayed for 2 days in Doha after the Summit. I did that because I know how important it is to have that time and space to think.

Still, for the past 2 days I find myself sitting in my chair staring out the window. Then feeling guilty. I have contacts to follow up, blog posts to write, workshops to organize and client work that still needs finishing.

If I don’t take the time to think, I will lose the opportunity to learn deeply about these experiences. If I don’t take that time, I will slip into old habits, doing the same old things in the same old way regardless of the changes I identified that I want to make.

I give myself permission to sit staring out the window. I give you permission to do the same thing.


Predictability v Spontaneity

I am traveling for these 2 weeks ending tomorrow.

Parts of my trip have been very carefully planned and executed, while during other parts, I have winged it. All of it has worked out, sometimes serendipitously well. Some of the times have involved a little mail-biting.

I don’t have all of tomorrow figured out yet and I find myself distracted by that.

Today is an open day for me. I will work, swim in the wonderful pool here, go for a walk and meet up with some people for supper. Rather than enjoy that, I’m thinking about tomorrow.

I’m good at winging it. I’ll tell you my Prague story some day. But it’s distracting. When I’m trying to figure out my way, I’m not in the here and now enjoying the people and place around me.

On the other hand, if it’s all arranged, there’s no room for side adventures and serendipity and creating your own pace.

A funny thing happened this week. I’m here with 700 other people for a summit. Everything is arranged, but sometimes it hasn’t all been communicated. So it felt uncertain, even though it wasn’t. Again, I was distracted. Would the bus be there or not? Invariably it was. Even though things were arranged, we didn’t feel the predictability of them.

There were times that were left open. These were opportunities for us to explore and revel in some uncertainty. In these cases, we were happy with that uncertainty and we were able to manage it.

Uncertainty is fun when we are prepared for it. Uncertainty takes some of our attention to manage.

Let’s apply that to business.
Make experiences predictable, your people should know that they will be taken care of and their needs met.
Communicate what people can expect.so they know what you have done for them.
Leave spaces for planned uncertainty. That may be time in a schedule or space for trying new things.