I recently read that Warren Buffet spends 80% of his day reading and thinking. Can you imagine—80% of his day?!
According to Buffett, all of that reading and thinking is what has built his knowledge base, providing for less impulsive decision making in his business. In this world of go, go, go, most of us do not have the luxury to spend that much of our day this way. However, many high-profile CEOs also schedule thinking time into their calendars. In fact, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong makes his executives spend 10 percent of their day just thinking. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules two hours of uninterrupted thinking time per day. While it may seem indulgent, in reality, they use that time to come up with new ideas, brainstorm ways to overcome challenges, set goals, and organize their ideas.
I wonder what the result might be if we included more of that time in our day? Certainly, it would make our work more proactive and carefully planned. To that end, the additional time spent might actually be a time saver in the long run. More informed, considered, decisions would prevent us from making mistakes and snap decisions potentially costing us precious time in resolving them.
From the time we enter 3rd grade, we begin reading to learn. Reading is how knowledge is attained, which in turn makes us better able to have meaningful conversations, challenge preconceived notions, and understand other points of view. Studies have shown that it also prevents memory loss and depression. According to billionaire trader Paul Tudor Jones, “Intellectual capital will always trump financial capital.” So, whatever amount of time you use for reading/thinking, will only serve to make you better at what you do.
While 80% is pretty impossible for most of us, we can certainly carve out reading/thinking time each week. Even Former President Obama spent one hour a day reading solely for interest, while in office. If the Leader of the Free World can do it, I think the rest of us can manage it too.
Try scheduling just a few minutes of thinking time into your day as a start. Imagine the possibilities!