Bill Gates think week helps you reset and boost focus
Do you ever feel on a constant treadmill throughout life? You wake up to go to work and it’s dark, only to finish work and it be dark again. Do you have so much going on in your mind that you find it hard to focus so, you just stick to what you know best? Do you have big aspirations in life, yet you feel like you’re only just keeping your head above water with all the distractions from this chaotic world?
Recently I was watching a documentary about Bill Gates, called inside Bill’s brain, he talks about his childhood, business and much more but, the reason why I’m talking about this is because there is a short segment about how he resets his brain and narrows his focus to solve big problems in the world by going on a think week.
What is a think week?
In short, a think week is a practice in which you isolate yourself from the outside world for a week, without any distraction from family, friends, work colleagues and social media. You use this time to become educated on a particular subject by reading and learning through books and other materials, so that you can think of solutions to problems in your life. This technique was first coined by Bill Gates and now is used by many successful people.
For 7 days, twice a year, Bill Gates goes on a retreat by himself to a cabin in Hood Canal, Washington. Gates would arrive by helicopter or sea plane and spend majority of his time in solarity, reading books, potential investments and innovations that had been pitched from his Microsoft employees, apart from when a caretaker would bring him meals twice a day.
Bill’s think weeks have evolved with him and his career, with his first major achievement being a memo sent to his Microsoft staff titled “the internet tidal wave” from his cabin, in which he makes clear that the company’s main focus should be the online world. His main concern now is on world problems, with one of his intentions to eradicate the polio disease.
How to do a think week at home.
We’re going through an unfamiliar time right now, where the world needs innovators, creators and leaders more than ever, however, due to certain restrictions you may not be able to just go on a trip away to use your skills for good. You need to live by your means and work with what you’ve got to make the world a better place for yourself and everybody else, so below we have steps you can use to create your own think week from home.
Step 1: Block out time in your schedule
We’re very busy people who have demands from our work life, social life and home life which can be overwhelming but, by blocking out a time for your think week, it can help you say no to things that you feel obligated to do for others and concentrate on yourself.
Even though many of us are working from home or on some sort of benefit scheme, it can feel as though you have even less time in your day than usual. Although a week-long disconnection from the chaos may be the most rewarding, it might not be the most realistic. If you’re short on time, turn your think week into a think day.
Step 2: Choose a location
This is probably one of the biggest challenges when working from home because you are limited to your own house and can’t travel but, it’s still possible to make things work. Unless you have around $10k-$40k to buy a backyard office or the skills to make your own, you need to think how you can innovate your house for what you require.
The main problem is with everyone stuck together, you can easily get distracted and get on each other’s nerves. One of the easiest ways you can solve this problem is by secluding yourself to one area of your house, whether it be your bedroom or the shed and politely asking the people you live with to leave you alone until you are done. You can learn more tips on how to work from home by clicking here.
Step 3: Set your goals and targets
It’s all well and good having the time to be able to do a think week, but what exactly are you going to think about? Reflect on your life and the world around you and think about what it needs.
Has something been bugging you for a while now and you want to solve? Work on figuring it out. Are you working on a big project that needs your time and attention for it to become a success? Take the steps you need to take by learning how to improve. Is there something going on in the world that you think you might have the solution for but, you don’t think you have the knowledge or resources? Get educated on the subject and how you can help.
Step 4: Get your tools ready
Bill Gates think week mainly consists of reading books, research papers and a simple piece of paper for note taking, but like we said earlier with Bill, you need to evolve with the situation you are in and now there are many more ways to learn, you need to work out what’s right for you.
You can read about a certain topic that you are interested in learning about with a handful of books, you can listen to your favorite podcasts and videos from experts in your field of interest, you can download courses for advanced knowledge and you can find pretty much anything at the touch of a button with Google. You might want to block certain websites like social media if you feel like you are likely to get distracted by them.
Step 5: Start learning
You not only need to read, listen and watch the content that you have chosen but, you also need to take in the information so that you can use it when you get back to normal civilization.
We have some tips for remembering what you read, if books are the method in which you choose and if there’s significant dates, figures or small pieces of information you need to memorize, you might find the memory palace technique useful.
Step 6: Take breaks to reset
This short time away isn’t just for thinking all day and night to the point of burnout, it’s also about reseting your mind so that you can come back more productive than ever.
Take time out of your week to do some complementary activities. You could do some painting, meditation or even do some forest bathing, anything that you think would be helpful.
Step 7: Come back refreshed and refocused
Now that you have identified some key areas where you can improve the world, your business or your life, it’s time to take action. Come back to normal life feeling refreshed and refocused.
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