Do we ever, these days, have time to pause, contemplate, assess, strategize to go beyond the day-to-day to delve into some deep thinking? Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates are setting for us the bars high how to escape on the day-to-day business and reload the brain. Bill Gates takes twice a year a seven days retreat in seclusion to read and think about the big problems. He calls these two weeks Think Weeks. and some of his best work came out of this routing. Today we look behind the curtain and see how you can make this happen for yourself. How does Bill Gates do it? He excludes himself from civilization, friends, family, coworkers twice a year for 7 days on a secret two-story cabin in Pacific Northwest. A dedicated caretaker provides him daily with two meals.
Produced important thought pieces and technology from these, such as the 1995 “The Internet Tidal Wave” paper.
Benefits of Think Weeks
As of yet, no scientific studies have been done on Think Weeks. But many of their features come with proven benefits. In an environment free of co-workers, meetings, and office distractions, the ability to focus increases exponentially. For a bonus, remove internet access to eliminate one of the biggest sources of distraction.
Our home and living in the city make it not easy to detach from the noisy surroundings. By selecting a location surrounded by nature, there are essential health and focus benefits. Research suggests that inhaling forest air provides three major beneficial substances negatively-charged ions, beneficial bacteria, and plant-derived essential oils. Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, as well as increase serotonin levels via biochemical reactions. This helps relieve stress and boost daytime energy. Sunshine & Vatimine D have a positive impact on our brain and body. Get another mood boost from vitamin D, which helps activate genes that regulate the immune system. It also releases neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that affect brain function.
The advantage of a new environment brings new ideas. Research has shown that studying in multiple and new locations improves performance.
One of the success factors is to define a specific start and end date. By having a specific start and stop date, you know that you have to accomplish your goals in this timebound period. A healthy body makes a healthy mind. Pair your Think Week with complimentary exercise. Aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. A study found that employees doing complex work are more vulnerable to decreased performance from office stressors. Remove yourself from that environment to reduce the effect. It is by now already known that our digital world is maybe not the best for humans, so try to disconnect it improves problem-solving and creativity. One study found that hikers disconnected from technology
and fully immersed in nature for four days improved creative thinking and problem-solving by a full 50%.
Lesson learned says to slow down to move much faster. The busier you are, the more you can’t afford not to take a “Think Week”.
How to make your own Think Week?
There are many ways to do a Think Week, from a simple day trip to all-out isolation. Here are the methods used by some of the world’s most successful people: Block off calendar
: Plan this well in advance to keep meeting and projects from interfering. Choose remote location
: Find a cabin, hotel, home, or even treehouse that encourages focus – often in isolation. It’s best if you can go without WiFi and a phone signal. Set goals for the think week
: Are you trying to solve specific problems, or looking to get freeform inspiration? Bring materials
: Assemble all of the information you need to meet your goals, such as books, presentations, white papers, slide decks, and other materials. Invite co-thinkers (optional)
: You’ll likely get the most focus out of traveling solo, but going with others could benefit as well. Plan complementary activities
: Give your mind a break with healthy activities such as hiking or yoga that contribute to your overall focus. Document wins and progress
: If done well, you’ll have a massive amount of output. Be sure to record this for strategic implementation when you get back to reality. The infographic from online reservations and travel company Reservations.com
illustrates the complete information of Gates “Think Week”, what studies say and how you can utilize it in your way. Maybe you are not in the position to take twice a year 7 days of. Still, we can learn some lessons from how Bill Gates recharges and refocuses.