Seek to minimize:
Rehash, Interruptus, and Replay Thinking
Seek to maximize
: What if, Multi-session, and Peer Thinking
Thinking takes time and energy so efficient thinking
is something we should strive for. Here are a few "Thinking" methods to avoid and to seek.
. When you think about something, but fail to reach a conclusion, you will often redo your thinking. Rehash thinking usually occurs because you were not clear about your objective in thinking about something. As a result, you spend a lot of time rethinking what you have already thought about. To minimize rehash, get clear on the objective of why you are thinking about something in the first place.
: This is when you're thinking about something and get interrupted due to no fault of your own. When this occurs, you stop thinking about whatever you were thinking about, and start thinking about something else. An example of this is when you're thinking about something and someone walks over to you and asks "got a moment?". When you finally get back to thinking about what you were thinking about, you need to re-gather your thoughts, i.e. you have to spend time remembering what you were thinking about in order to continue thinking about it !!! During the process of remembering what you were thinking about, you often just don't pick up where you left off, but will often go back and Rehash what you have already thought about. To minimize Thinking Interruptus, which often leads to Rehash Thinking, find a place and time that you can think for 10 to 15 minutes without being interrupted (no kids, no business peers, no phone, no email, etc.)
: When you reach a conclusion you don't like, you tend to replay the thinking, sometimes with the hope that the replay will result in a different conclusion. Replay thinking, except when your thinking was flawed, is often a waste of time. "Insanity is when you continue to do the same thing over and over again hoping for a different outcome", Albert Einstein.
What If Thinking:
This is much different than Replay thinking and can be very innovative and productive. This is when you change some of the initial conditions / assumptions, and then see if the thinking comes up with a different conclusion. This is very important for thinking outside the box, creativity and finding new solutions.
It is often beneficial to purposely plan to think about something in multiple sessions. This allows for sub-conscious thinking, i.e. allowing your brain to do some background processing. One method for this is to start to think about something and "load up" with the information, facts; observations; that will allow you to become clear on the situation. Then understand where you are and what the next step in thinking would be, and then do something else. Later, you can continue your thinking. This is different than Rehash Thinking, as you don't go back over what you thought about, but continue where you left off. This is also different than Thinking Interruptus, because this is a planned stopping point. You prepare for the transition and take appropriate notes, and can pick up the thinking without having to go back and think about what you were thinking about.
You seek others and communicate your thinking in the hope that they will catch a mistake, give you ideas, or re-enforce the correctness in your thinking. Also, now you have others thinking about what you where thinking about. This can be very beneficial as it can stimulate additional ideas that you haven't thought about.
Thinking takes time, so the next time you think about something, think about the time you are investing in thinking and make sure you use it wisely.