With the end of the year around the corner, I’ve been hearing an amplified amount of “super busy” when asking “how are you?” And while this is the norm working at a small company, it’s made me stop to think about the theme of our blog this month, presence.

Being present is something most of us need to create the time for, but in reality, we don’t. Claiming to be “busy” all the time is problematic because it means you don’t have time to think and reflect about upcoming things. When you get into the habit of just doing, you are no longer proactive and will soon fall behind.

While marking tasks off our to-do list is great, you need new ideas if you are going to stay ahead of the competition. But how are you going to come up with ideas if you don’t make time for it?

Slow down. I know this can be tough in our fast-paced Internet world. Lately, I had been running into this issue and was struggling with finding a balance between doing and thinking. So how do we make sure we step away from the noise to think? Here are a few ways that have helped us create the space to come up with kick ass ideas and stay ahead of the game.

Turn off distractions

Needless distractions detract the ability to think and end up causing stress. Humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, so a text from your best friend about your ex-boyfriend’s Insta Story isn’t going to help you come up with your next big idea. If anything, it causes you to fall into the black hole of social media creeping.

Work smarter, not harder

One of the most common issues in any job is time management. So much to do, so little time. Lately, I have been experimenting with different ways to manage my time by finding efficiencies within similar tasks.

My favorite method so far has been batching my time, meaning I block out time per each client or tasks each day depending on what the priority projects are. Finding ways to work smarter will create additional space that you can take advantage of by budgeting that time for creative thinking.

Shake up your routine

Ever have those days where you just hit a wall and can’t seem to think even when you have the time? I’ve had moments where I felt like I was wasting valuable time, time that I specifically blocked off to think, because I was stuck in a funk. I decided to get up from my desk and sit on the couch on the other side of our office. After a few minutes, the ideas started flowing and I felt productive again!

I’ve noticed that when I change up my routine, I come up with more and different ideas. It can be anything as small as moving locations of your workspace to taking an unexpected trip to Starbucks or the store to help spark great ideas.

When in doubt, schedule it out

I’m an OCD, Type-A planner. Not only do I love to plan, but I thrive on it. I schedule time to work out, to work on Full-Time Friends, me time and more recently, time to think. Try to schedule at least 15 minutes a day for “thinking,” You could add more here about maybe how you prioritize your personal life. Do you use a planner, do you do something every weekend that helps you plan for the week ahead, etc. Maybe more specifics on how prioritizing personal life is different than work life.

Relax before taking a break

I’ve noticed I get my best ideas when taking a shower, folding laundry or mindlessly organizing my room. I realized that when I am participating in repetitive or mindless activities, my mind has the space to come up with ideas.

Take a real break

Speaking of breaks…we all know that traveling is good for your health, but what about just taking a mini vacation? Taking time off can provide the space needed to clear the mind. Even if that’s just taking one Friday off so you have a long weekend. This way, you can partake in relaxing activities so you can step back and contemplate what’s important.

How do you find the time to think? Do you have mindless activities that help you create space to come up with great ideas?

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I’m Farha, pronounced far-uh, but you can call me Farha-out as many do. I am a public relations and digital specialist who used to work in the heart of Hollywood. I am the epitome of being extra. I love a good Moscow mule, local fashion shows and anything Rick and Morty. You can most likely find me at the nearest music event or rooftop pool. I believe anything can be accomplished with the right lipstick and a coffee in hand.