Thinking is cooler than doing

I’ve been pondering a bit on the importance of thinking the last few months. As someone who has primarily focused on managing tasks and projects to make sure I have what’s most important accomplished for the last decade, there’s something that bristles inside when I think about thinking.

Shouldn’t I just be able to do what I want instead of think about it? Isn’t having a bias toward action better than considering ideas and outcomes?

I think having a bent toward doing is a good thing, but as I’ve grown and learned more about myself, I’ve realized careful consideration, processing, and thinking is at the crux of being the most effective I possibly can be.

The struggle in my own productivity world is one of reaction. It’s easy to react to the seemingly urgent activities that need most immediate tending — think publishing this newsletter, editing my latest video, or handling the childhood squabble of the moment.

Yet the most powerful, long-lasting, and impactful outcomes happen when I pause, slow down, and think. Not in the striving sense of “oh my gosh I really need to figure this out!” Rather in the approach of “What is this thing? Can I understand it more? What’s next for me?”

The truth is we all need action, but we all need thought, too. I think this is why books like Hyperfocus and Digital Minimalism have taken off and become so popular. We’re all overwhelmed to some degree with information we need to handle, and at the core we’re hungering for a place to think. I know I am.

One thing I’m trying to do is develop more “evergreen” notes in my Obsidian vault. An evergreen note is one that focuses on an atomic concept that’s fleshed out in my own words. They’re relatively short, but linked together in a web of other permanent notes.

To do this, I’m essentially taking ideas, thoughts, or notes from other works, and condensing them into my own words in a separate note. The trick for me is getting myself off the reaction race and into a quiet thinking mode where I’m not feeling pressured to do anything. I haven’t succeeded well at this yet, but I’m making progress at least.

How about for you? Have you noticed the desire for empty space or thinking time? If so, what are you struggling with to get it? Or if you’re getting that time, what’s worked for you? I’d love to hear from you about it.


[Process] 61: Why I Switched to Obsidian - Obsidian has become Justin’s favorite personal knowledge management tool. This week, he discusses why, plus an analogy as to why productivity tools are like coffee gear.

[YouTube] Taking Notes in Markdown: A Primer - Markdown is commonly used in many note-taking apps. How do you use it? Why is Markdown a good choice for your note system? We answer these questions and more in today’s video.


Focus on This - I’ve been enjoying this podcast from Michael Hyatt & Company. It’s a roughly 30 minute weekly show centering around productivity. I’d recommend this one especially if you work in more of a traditional organization with lots of meetings and things to do.

That’s all for this week!

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