We all know that we should think about the big picture, but it never happens. We’re constantly getting sucked into minutiae and forgetting to consider what’s essential.
This post will walk through how to make time for big picture thinking (and about time management), but more about why big picture thinking is so important, and how you can make sure you do it regularly!
Recognize how vital big picture thinking is
Big picture thinking is crucial because it helps you make better decisions and see the forest for the trees. It also allows you to see your goals more clearly, so you can prioritize your time to help you achieve those goals.
Identify the ways you get sucked into minutiae
You’ll have to be honest with yourself in this process. You need to know the distractions sucking up your time and energy, but you also need to know how you get sucked into minutiae.
One way I’ve used to help me identify these things is by keeping a journal in which I make notes of what I do each day. Sometimes it’s not so apparent at first glance; sometimes, after reviewing my notes over time, I realize how much time I’ve wasted on some trivial task or another.
Another method for identifying these types of activities is by asking friends or co-workers what they see as your strengths and weaknesses (or perhaps having them fill out a survey). If one or more people mention that they see certain behaviors as being weaknesses (i.e., procrastination), there’s probably something going on there worth looking into further!
Block time on your calendar
To make time for big picture thinking, block it on your calendar. Don’t just say, “I’ll find the time.” Block out time and make it a priority. Don’t let other things steal your attention from this critical task. If you don’t block out the time, you won’t do it because there will always be something else to take precedence.
If an issue needs immediate attention or someone needs something from you, move the block off your calendar and use the phone or email instead of meeting face-to-face (this is especially relevant when working with remote teams).
Get into nature
If you’re trying to get a grip on the big picture, there’s no better place to start than nature. Studies show that being outside can help you reduce stress and anxiety, think more clearly, feel more connected to your environment, and feel more creative. Of course, none of these benefits are guaranteed—but they’re worth considering as you look at how best to spend your time when it comes to thinking about the future.
Create a list of questions to answer as you think about your big project
To help you get started with your big picture thinking, let’s review some questions to ask yourself as you think about your project.
- What do I want my blog to be?
- How do I want to grow my social media?
- How can I make more money with my blog?
- What am I passionate about?
Don’t feel like you have to work all day and all night every day of the week. Instead, schedule times when you won’t be working. This is a simple concept that many people don’t think about enough when trying to get more done.
Take breaks as often as possible!
It’s easy to get caught up in the importance of what we’re doing and forget that sometimes it’s essential to stop for a minute and breathe before continuing. So. use your Apple watches’ mindfulness app and take a minute of deep inhaling and exhaling. You will feel so much better, after just 60 seconds! Even if it feels like time wasted, taking breaks will help keep us mentally fresh so we can give our best effort during those hours when we choose to work hard!
Big picture thinking is important
Big picture thinking is critical and something we don’t do enough of, but if you block the time, it can become routine and easy to do regularly. Here are some tips for blocking time on your calendar to do big picture thinking:
- Commit that you’ll leave work at a certain time each day. Don’t get sucked into an email or answering messages right before the end of your workday.
- Block off 1/2 hour at night or early in the morning (before breakfast) to plan what needs to be done tomorrow or next week. This helps keep you focused throughout your day instead of constantly looking at your list, which makes things seem overwhelming and crazy!
- Get outside! Nature calms us down, provides perspective, and allows us better access to our intuition about what we need in life vs. what others want from us because they’re stressed out too much by their busy schedules.”
I hope this post has given you some valuable tips for making time for big picture thinking and helping to get your mind in the right place for planning. If you’re still struggling with finding time, try blocking off a few hours on your calendar every week to think about your goals, plans, and dreams. You might be surprised at how much more productive it makes you!