Design Your Life
Recharge: Take a Think Week
By Zim Ugochukwu
A Think Week is a seven day stretch (or more, if you like) of seclusion to recharge your thinking and focus on personal development. It’s a time where you can reflect on your past and your future, read about new ideas and make changes accordingly.
Every year, I charter into unchartered territory to take a week long break to clear my thinking and focus my direction. Last year, I sat on a beach in Myanmar, where I lived in a small wooden bungalow with only a few hours of electricity a day. A week before, I printed tons of articles, downloaded more than a few books and purchased writing journals in Bangkok, Thailand, to prepare for my week long hiatus. I put up an email vacation responder to notify loved ones back home and powered off my cell phone (like it would REALLY work in Myanmar).
While on the beach in Ngwe Saung, I finished a few unfinished books, jotted down business ideas, finished a few pending projects, read through scriptures, journaled and focused on where I wanted to be in the upcoming year. During this intentional time off, I was able to clear my thinking and focus my direction.
My digital friend (I haven’t met him yet) Mike Karnjanaprakorn, said that during a recent Think Week:
“I was able to make a clear decision on what I wanted to do next with my personal and professional life. By disconnecting from the world, time moved really slow. I really got to enjoy the moment, which we often neglect in our chaotic worlds.”
For many years, Bill Gates took two one-week Think Weeks a year. Family, friends and Microsoft employees were banned. There, he would read through hundreds of pages of employee manuscripts while pondering both the future of Microsoft and the creative thinking of his employees. By powering off, Bill Gates was able to usher in and facilitate the tons of innovations for Microsoft that came out of reading employee manuscripts during these Think Weeks.
Every seven years, Stefan Sagmeister, a graphic designer and typographer, takes a one-year sabbatical to refresh his thinking and renew his creativity. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard, right? After all, time is money.
If one Think Week a year can help focus on the right thing, what’s stoppin’ you?
Zim is an avid photographer, visual storyteller, classically trained pianist, junk foodie, vegetarian, and occasional building climber. She is the founder & CEO of Travel Noire.