A few months ago I watched Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates on Netflix. I enjoy watching all kinds of documentaries. They are fascinating to me. Not only do documentaries offer insight into people, but they also introduce you to different ideas. That is what the documentary on Bill Gates’ did for me. It inspired me to have my own Think Week.
What is a Think Week
In the documentary, Bill Gates takes a week secluded in a cabin in the pacific northwest. He disconnections from everything; family, friends, and technology. He does this 7-day think week twice a year. He reads newspaper articles, books, and industry news. While doing all this reading he writes down notes and engages in active pondering. He has been doing this for years and introduced the concept to Microsoft as well. This intrigued me.
I did a lot of research after watching the documentary. Google Think Week and you will find articles and videos of people talking about Bill Gates think week as well as their own experience. I read everything I could and decided to do one of my own. Mine won’t be as long as the 7-days that Bill Gates does but I’m still excited.
What Are the Benefits
Throughout some of the articles I read, there are numerous benefits to doing a think week (or even a think day or weekend). The main benefit associated with it is focus. You are away from technology and distractions, all you can do is focus. Also, it helps you refocus on yourself and what is important. With a new environment, there are new ideas. A think week (weekend or day) allows you to really tailor what you want to concentrate on learning or becoming more familiar with. You will also accomplish goals because of the time-bound period you do have. Another benefit I read about is improved problem-solving and creativity. As I said before you are secluded, you are also doing readings on different topics, therefore you are forced to critically think and make connections. Other benefits that are mentioned are: benefits from being in nature (if you choose to do so), increased learning if you pair with exercise and reduced stressors.
What Are Some Tips If I Want to do a Think Week (Weekend or Day)
These tips were found from various articles that I read:
- plan well in advance
- create a game plan for every aspect
- choose a remote location without wifi
- set goals — solve a specific problem or get freeform inspiration
- assemble all the info you need to meet goals (books, presentations, white papers, slide decks, etc.)
- document wins and progress
- plan complementary activities for breaks that contribute to the overall focus
- it can be anywhere from a day to a week of uninterrupted thinking
- have a set routine
- no plan for the 1st day
- tell ppl what you are doing
- start now with 30 mins of focused thinking and reading time per day
- set some rules for your self
How Am I Doing My Think Week
First, I had to think about what topics I wanted to dive into, and when I could possibly do this. I may be moving (hopefully) really soon and starting a new job. I wanted to make sure I did my Think Week before that so I decided I can do this in June. It will be sandwiched between me moving and my sister’s graduation. I’ll be in a new place, with no distractions. I am still thinking through my routine and what I will do to break up the day.
I decided on five topics that I wanted to dive into:
- personal goals and resetting them
- youth & college ministry
- African American history
- finances & generational wealth
- relationships, communicating to others and asking good questions.
Over the next 5 weeks I will explain why i picked these 5 topics, what I hope to gain from the 5 topics, what I hope to gain from the week, and what questions I want to answer. Either way, I am super excited about the think week. I hope you will stick around for what is to come and maybe think about creating your own think week.