Do you ever notice that your best ideas never come to you when you’re sat at your desk, or in front of your screen. Breakthrough thoughts seem to appear when you’re doing simple things like when you’re on a walk, in the shower or doing the washing up.
That’s because you’re giving your brain space to think through insight. You’re removing distraction, notifications and and your everyday work routine. So how can you replicate this environment but for longer stretches of time? Bill Gates Think Week enters the room.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, goes off grid to a cabin in the woods to take annual ‘Think Weeks’ - dedicated time in nature to think deeply and creatively about goals and strategy.
What is a ‘Think Week’?
A Think Week is a period of time, typically a week, that you set aside to disconnect from the distractions of daily life and focus solely on thinking, brainstorming, and planning. During this time, you typically disconnect from your regular sources of information and stimulation, such as email and social media. A ‘Think Week’ is simply a 7 day digital detox that gives you the time to read, write, and focus.
This practice has been popularised by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, such as Bill Gates. It doesn’t need to just be about business thinking - you can take these weeks to set some personal goals too.
What are the benefits of a ‘Think Week’?
First and foremost, it provides you with the opportunity to step back from your daily routine and gain a fresh perspective on your life and work. By intentionally setting aside time to think deeply, you can clarify your goals and priorities and identify new opportunities. Stepping away from your normal routine for 7 days gives your brain the space to generate creative solutions to complex problems that may have previously seemed impossible to solve.
1. Clarity of thought
By disconnecting from the constant noise and distractions of your daily life, you can gain clarity of thought and perspective. This can help you to think more deeply about your life, goals, and priorities, and make more informed decisions.
Both during your think week and after. During your think week, you have very few distractions which boosts your productivity. Plus, by taking time off to reflect and recharge, individuals often return to their regular work with renewed energy and focus.
In everyday life it can be hard to take long stints for deep reading and thinking. Think Weeks give you that space to deep dive into books, literature and your thoughts.
Who should do a ‘Think Week”?
It’s perfect for entrepreneurs and business leaders. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has been taking think weeks for over two decades. During this time, he disconnects from the world and spends his time reading and thinking about the future of technology, science, and society. Gates believes that taking a think week allows him to gain perspective and generate new ideas that he can apply to his work.
But this doesn’t mean it’s only beneficial if you’re a leader - they’re perfect for anyone in any line of work:
Basically anyone who wants to get their head down and work on a project or themselves!
Plan what you want to achieve by the end of the week - what topic do you want to dive into? Prioritise your goal and make sure it’s specific and achievable. If you want to achieve some personal goals too, set a Business Goal and Personal Goal. Write them down and solidify them as your focus.
Removing technology is a key factor in a ‘think week’. Technology is inherently distracting, which is exactly what you don’t need during a week dedicated to deep thinking. Take a big notebook and a couple of pens, and any reading materials you might need - but leave your emails at home.
Go truly OOO
No emails, no calls and no meetings. You need to completely remove yourself from the everyday work routine to get the most out of your think week. Prep your team and let them know you’ll be entirely unreachable. Here’s a few OOO templates if you need some inspiration.
It might seem intimidating if you’re not used to going away alone. But solitude is the key for deep thought. In the same way as digitally detoxing helps remove distraction, so does going solo. Unless you’re planning this with a co-founder or teammate, then it’s time to go alone. If you have any reservations about going off-grid alone, we got you!
Ready for your Think Week? Unplugged offer 6 night digital detoxes so that you can go off-grid in nature at one of our cabins near London or Manchester. You can Book a digital detox here >
Fancy time away from the screen?
Recharge your batteries by going off-grid for 3 days. Backed by science - you will feel more calm, relaxed and creative after your digital detox.