Entrepreneurs and leaders hustle — all day every day. Sometimes this hustle feels more like chaos than it does productivity. Often as we get pulled down “into the weeds,” we lose the clarity and confidence it takes to lead well. To help protect your confidence, schedule time with yourself to take a clarity break.
Clarity breaks are a simple concept that often seem hard to do — likely just because it’s so different from our day to day. It’s about intentionally setting time aside for yourself to think and focus. I suggest making a one-hour appointment with yourself, at least once a month. To stay sharp, confident, and at your best for your people, you must take clarity breaks. By definition, it’s time you schedule away from the office, out of the daily grind of running the department, to think and work on your business, department or self.
Stepping back to think will create clarity for you and restore your confidence. This is important because the normal course of day-to-day business pulls you deeper and deeper into the minutiae of your work. As a result, you sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. You start to feel overwhelmed and you become short with your people.
The point of this time is not to catch up on your to-do list or emails. I suggest getting away from the office and turning off all distractions. I don’t even take my phone! I just take a blank notepad and allow myself to just think. As I started this process, I took a list of questions in with me to help prime my thinking — questions like “Is the vision and plan for the business on track?” and “Am I focusing on the most important things?” This allowed me to think freely about the business without all of the distractions of the day-to-day. When you do this, you’re about to protect your confidence and clarity, and you become a better leader and manager. You’ve elevated out of the tall grass long enough to know the direction you’re headed and to run there with confidence.
So how do you start? Schedule time on your calendar. Pick a place that feels calm and peaceful for you that won’t be full of distractions. Turn everything on “do not disturb.” And then just write. Empty your brain onto a legal pad and watch yourself come away with greater clarity.