How to do a ‘Think Week’ and the Many Benefits

Boredom and relaxation breed creativity and fresh ideas. In a society laden with a hustle mentality, nearly everyone could benefit from having a ‘think week.’ Coined by the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, a ‘think week’ is exactly what it sounds like: a week to do nothing except think and read. For those with crippling anxiety, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

Twice a year, Gates spends seven days in complete solitude. He retreats to a cabin in the woods, forcing him away from all distractions, interactions, and interruptions. His days dedicated to stillness have led to some of his best ideas, including the Microsoft Tablet PC.

Gates’ method is rather extreme, but it does shed light on the many benefits of slowing down and giving yourself the space to ponder, reflect, and motivate.

While practicing such may not land you on the list of richest people in the world, it will do your mind wonders. Imagine that your ‘think week’ is spring cleaning. At the end of it, you just tackled the pantry.

The main goal of a ‘think week’ is to recharge and disconnect, while simultaneously advancing career and personal goals. The benefits include increased focus, mindfulness, and intentionality. So often, we are forced to believe that simply thinking is a waste of time because we always need to be doing something, accomplishing something. Thankfully, the success of Gates has proven this dogma false.

If you can escape reality for a week to try a ‘think week’ for yourself, be sure to plan accordingly and take full advantage of the opportunity. Here are three essential tips for doing so:

Be completely alone
Solitude is crucial when executing a proper ‘think week.’

Create a schedule
Be intentional. While a ‘think week’ is technically a break from the bustle of everyday life, it is not a break for the mind. Your daily schedule should consist of reading, writing, walking, and yes, thinking.

Pack only the essentials
The essentials for a ‘think week’ look different than the essentials for a typical vacation. Pack lightly, focusing on readings and journals. Since you’ll be alone, there is no one to impress. For this week, minimalize is key.

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