I announced on Twitter and Facebook this morning that today was a thinking day. I have had a number of reactions, by and large positive, to this apparently outrageous thing to do.
It is nothing to do with that practised by the Guide and Scout Movement, although that too is a good thing as it raises awareness of other cultures and nations.
Retreats are OK. Times of escape are good. Heart days are fine. But for me, and I expect for others who have a high T in their MBTI*, thinking days are essential.
Thinking does not get a good press. It is often seen as wasted time or time when one could be doing something.
I saw a little management film a few years ago where a manager took no interruptions because he was thinking. As he had a glass wall to his office everyone could see he was apparently doing nothing and they harangued his secretary to be let in. 'Look, he's just sitting there...'
When I first took this job I do now I met the incomparably wonderful Dennis Croome. Sorry to embarrass you Dennis if you read this but, just to keep your head small, this is nothing to do with your qualities as an administrator but as a thinker. From time to time, as I dropped in to the church office in the afternoon, Dennis would be wandering the floor stroking an imaginary beard. He was thinking. It makes no difference whether he was thinking about the plans for the church's future or where he left the damn keys. He was thinking.
There ought to be times in the calendar where those staff who are paid to get things right (in whatever area they work) spend time thinking. Thinking time often ends up meaning new avenues are explored or old routes are travelled more speedily.
When I get to a thinking day it does not mean I don't do anything. I often do quite a lot. It means I do not plan to do anything. I allow my brain to free roam, making a list of things I might do as a result, or sometimes doing them at once. For instance, I thought of a colleague who may need a chat and arranged a meeting.
For me the best thinking happens when my brain is just enough occupied to be working. So reading an easy book, writing a blog post (such as this), doing the filing or a puzzle game all help. A blank piece of paper nearby will ensure that any things-to-do thoughts are captured and any ideas for the future are retained.
The pictures have nothing to do with anything. But if you looked at them and they made you think? Well then.
*Myers Briggs Type Indicator, a personality-type identification tool