Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Finding Quiet

I will be launching a new service in January 2018 that will help you create clarity around your goals, certainty about what to do, and help you provide a greater impact on your work environment.

In the meantime, I’d like to share a free PDF containing a useful personal prioritization exercise to help you get started.



I hope you can join me on this journey!

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to find some quiet.

Extended, undisturbed quiet.

The conversation you are going to have will be between you and a piece of paper.

And you want to be alone.  No other inputs.

No friends. No phone. No computer.  Nothing to distract you.

You want to hear the chatter in your head.

Just keep an observational distance from it.

Easier said than done, I know.


Some of the techniques I have used to find quiet space:

  • Early morning – first thing.  Before the coffee has kicked in.
    • My brain is less noisy then + I lean towards morning person, so few people are bothering me at that time.
  • Late evening after everyone has left.
    • More for night people.  I haven’t been nearly as successful with this technique.  But then, I’m a morning person.  I also find that I am either mentally burned out at the end of the day or over-stimulated and my brain has a gajillion things going on, and I can’t concentrate.
  • Hide in an unused conference room out of main traffic areas.
    • Schedule it as “strategic planning” on the conference room calendar and block off your calendar.
      • It IS a meeting – you don’t need to tell them it’s a meeting with yourself and the voices in your head.
    • If you have to have someone else schedule it for you – just tell the scheduler you will send invites separately
    • Alternately – you could just check the schedule, then squat in the room
    • Don’t use more than 1 hour for this. Ideally 30 minutes. Don’t be a room hog.
  • Take an actual lunch outside the office alone.
    • Best done during a beautiful day outside.  We could all probably use the Vitamin D.
  • On travel – conference – hide in a hallway away from the action for a few minutes
    • It’s a productive way to spend the time between sessions vs. checking your email. Just once.
    • In my experience – my slowest email times during conferences tend to be between the keynote and the first breakout session.  Depending on your circumstances, that optimal time will change.
  • On travel – client sites – leverage hotel time
    • Again, I find the change in environment helps.
    • I also don’t have the distractions on the road that I do at home.
    • When was the last time you saw something entertaining on TV anyhow?

The following techniques are less ideal.  You want to take whatever comes up and write them down in one notebook dedicated to this task.

  • Voice recording during the commute.
    • Most of us commute alone.  Most phones have voice recorder functionality.
    • I prefer writing because I know that for me writing stuff down sticks.  This technique is more “in a pinch”.
  • During lines and waits – using the note tools on your phone
    • This is the “being alone while in a crowd” technique
    • This technique has the bonus of making you look “busy” so no one bothers you.
  • Taking a notebook to the gym.
    • I lift weights – so this works for me.  I write stuff down during rest periods if something comes to me.
    • Lift heavy enough – the mind clears real nicely.
    • The change in environment also helps.
    • Many gyms have daycare (for those of you with children)
    • This won’t quite work with running, treadmills, rowing, etc.

Finding quiet may be the hardest step in finding personal clarity.

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