What I Learned From Think Week

I’ve done Think Weeks before, but this was the best.

I made four huge decisions that are worth around $600,000 per year. The decisions don’t matter to you, but the process might.

The most important thing: there IS a process to this. Taking a week away from the office isn’t the same as optimizing your headspace, making decisions, and then executing on them. I finished Think Week pretty tired, to be honest, but very happy to be moving forward with clarity.

You can read about the process for Think Week here.

Here’s what worked best; didn’t work; and will be altered for next time.

1 – Context switching is taking a bigger toll on me than I thought.
The primary value of “Think Week” was staying focused on one problem at a time. None of my decisions were very hard, when considered in a vacuum. But going from meeting to Slack to email to Messenger while trying to stay focused is impossible. Every mental jump from one topic to the next takes a toll.
My former mentor, Todd Herman, explains Context Switching best:

During Think Week, I turned off all notifications on my phone for 23 hours every day. I love hearing from my clients and my team, but the context-switching exhausts me.

Going even further, I turned off apps like Facebook, email and Slack between 9pm and 7am. I had a bad habit of checking all of them while still in bed, and they invariably had a net negative effect – while most messages I get are very positive, I ruminate on the negative ones. If you’re lying down on your side and increasing blood flow to your brain, this is one of the worst possible ways to start your day. This is why you feel better as soon as you stand up…but if you’re focused on someone else’s problems at 5:30, you probably won’t every find the mental space to work on your own. As someone once told me, “Your inbox is full of people who want something from you. There’s no good news in there.”

2 – The “teach back” is critical for making decisions stick.
When I thought I’d reached a decision, I’d pretend to “teach it back” to someone else. My wife got an earful every day, and probably heard more about the business in one week than she did in the last year. I wanted her feedback, but I also wanted to see if I could explain the decision concisely.

3 – Physical work drains you for mental work, and vise versa.
One mistake I made during Think Week was to keep my physical training intensity high. This meant I had four days of tough workouts on top of my “flow state” time, which was mostly physical labor.
But after each hard workout, I’d need a meal, and then a nap–I wasn’t optimized for thinking. Next time, I’ll dial my workouts back to get the value of “flow” without the fatigue.

4 – Asynchronous coaching is sometimes more powerful than an “appointment”.
As I reached decisions, I learned about myself. I made those lessons “stick” by sending a voice message to my mental coach (Bonnie Skinner) over Voxer.
This meant I got to reflect on my mental state, successes and failures as they happened. I would hit ‘record’, say “Hey Bon, I just had this little epiphany…” and talk for 3-4 minutes while I sat with my decision or emotion.
She’d respond a few hours later with more insight. But half the value was the cathartic benefit of just organizing my thoughts into a concise message, and saying it aloud. For small steps, this might actually be better than sitting in her office two weeks later and trying to recall exactly how I felt or what I was thinking. My hope is that it will lead to faster learning (and self-optimization.)

It really felt like I was hitting “save game” after I made a great move.

5 – My definition of “done” is the most important thing I can share with my team.
If I give them a clear picture of the end result, the steps to get there are less important. They’ll ask the “why” questions if they need to hear them.
For example, I decided to split one of our programs into breakout groups by topic. I set up a two-stage process to make the change between now and late September. When I shared the decision with my team, they thought I should reverse the steps I’d laid out, putting my ‘second step’ first. I let them make that change because they clearly understood where we were headed, and the change wouldn’t affect the deadline.

6 – I deferred one decision out of five.
The goal of Think Week was to make five big decisions (I had five on my list when I started). However, I quickly realized that I was lacking important information on one of the decisions. So I decided not to decide, and deferred until after July 1, when I’d have the information I needed.

We need to be reminded more than we need to be taught. None of this stuff was new, aside from the ‘asynchronous coaching’ idea – in fact, some of it appears in the lessons I teach clients. But when things stack up, it’s easy to ditch the ‘boring’ stuff and get carried away in distractions. We seek them, because every other decision in our life seems too big or scary to make right now.
Creating a vacuum of focus lets us put every decision on pause, and then serve them up one at a time when they can get our full attention.

Share this post

Popular Posts

Join the

Our free FB group for those committed to growing their wealth and serving others at the same time.

Fill out the form below to get started.

Find a mentor that’s right for you and your business.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.