How to Give Yourself Time to Think

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How to Give Yourself Time to Think Have you ever had one of those days where it feels like your mind is about to burst?

You’ve absorbed so much information, facts, and ideas, over the past few hours, that you’re feeling physically drained and stressed.

You need time to think.

But how can find the “brain-off” time that you need, in order to process information and make a decision?

In this post, I offer a few pointers to help you create the time you need to reflect, review, and evaluate a situation.


Stop taking in information.

Go cold turkey when it comes to taking in information…at least temporarily.

Stop checking your email, log out of your social media accounts, put down that magazine, turn off the TV and radio, close that book, or switch your phone off or set it to silent mode.

Remember, this is only a temporary break, pause, or hiatus.

You can get back to your normal routine when finished.

Avoid taking on additional assignments.

This is similar to taking in information, the only difference is that you won’t be physically busy working on something.

You could say “No” to pro bono work at the office, volunteer charity work, or organizing a social event with friends.

Again, this is not to say you’ll never do additional assignments, it’s just that you won’t do them right now.

Tell others you need time.

As we go about our busy lives, we tend to forget that people aren’t mind readers.

If someone keeps asking you for your decision or input on something, and you haven’t yet made up your mind, simply tell them that you need time to think it over.

You can ask them to follow-up with you at the end of the day, in a couple of days, next week, whatever is necessary for your situation.

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Cancel an appointment or meeting.

Most meetings don’t need to be held in the first place. See where you could potentially trim the fat in your schedule.

Is there an extraneous meeting (or five) in your schedule that you could cancel, or postpone? This goes for both work and personal appointments.

Set a timer or schedule time.

If you’re truly pressed for time, you can literally give yourself time to think!

You can set a timer or alarm for sixty minutes. Is an hour too long? You can set it for 45, 30, 20, 10, or 5 minutes.

Focus on the item at hand. You might want to create a list of pros and cons, or write down facts, figures, and notes to help you make your decision.

Another way to do this is to schedule thinking time into your calendar. Perhaps you can block out an on hour or two in the morning, afternoon, or evening?

Work on a “brain-off” activity.

A “brain-off” activity allows your mind to process information without you consciously thinking about the information. It’s like putting a boiling pot of soup to simmer on the back burner of a stovetop. The soup simmers slowly and the flavors meld together over time.

You probably have a favorite activity or two that allows you to rest your mind reflect. It could be going for a long drive in the car, going for a walk around the neighborhood, vacuuming the house, coloring in your coloring book, practicing some meditation, going for a run, knitting a sweater, chopping vegetables…you get the idea.

In a bind and can’t change your location or actions? Just close your eyes. That will cut down on the visual noise and distractions around you.

How about you? Which of the above tips are you going to try out? How will you reduce the constant chatter that’s swirling around your day-to-day affairs? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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