Giving Yourself a Business “Time Out”

By Damien James, an EO Australia-Victoria member and CEO of Aged Foot Care

In my opinion, business is an intellectual sport. So, every week on Sunday night between 6 and 7 p.m., I answer a series of questions about my business. For me, this “thinking time” has become a ritual. I even have a dedicated “thinking chair” and a “thinking pen”!

This series of questions is designed to help me see what I call the “‘invisible,” the things that are threats, weaknesses or even opportunities I may not consider during my busy working hours.

If I spot anything I then build it into my next 90-day plan to either address or take advantage of.

I do this every week because I believe what you can’t see, kills you. That’s why I make this a priority, and do this when my brain is fully recharged and working most effectively. That time for me is at the tail end of my weekend.

The reality is that anyone who creates sustainable success in business uses their brain and intellect. Unfortunately, many people who play the game of business do so with their emotion and gut. In my opinion, these business owners are destined to fail (my definition for GUT = Gave Up Thinking).

Most people don’t set aside time to think about their business, which means they don’t identify problems, or opportunities, until it’s too late. My advice to all business owners is to start today. Nothing should stop you from taking time to think actively about your business, and it’s never too late to start.

A great example of an opportunity that has come out of my thinking time relates to our company vision. Our vision is to help create a world where residents living in aged care are joyous and optimistic. For us, “emotional comfort” is just as important as “physical comfort.”

The question I asked myself was, “What can our team do within three months to move closer toward making our vision a reality?”

And the answer I came up with during thinking time was to pay our podiatrists to start spending regular time at aged-care facilities playing bingo with their patients or celebrating a birthday rather than just doing podiatry treatments.

It’s a true win-win-win. The residents, facilities and podiatrists love this. So not only are we making progress toward our vision, we are also building a stronger connection with the aged-care facilities that contract our service.

The thinking chair and pen is about creating a ritual; it helps me to be more disciplined about my thinking. Like most people, my mind wanders all over the place. Having some physical reminders, like a thinking chair and pen, helps keep me focused. Call me weird – you wouldn’t be the first person – but it seems to work for me!

I guess many people believe they can do their best thinking whilst at breakfast, going for a swim or whilst driving.

Maybe they can, I can’t. My brain jumps all over the place.

It takes real discipline to maintain this habit week in, week out. I want as few distractions as possible because I know this is the best path for the future of my business.

If this focus can guarantee sustainable success, I personally think that time is the best investment a business owner can make.

Categories: Best Practices Inspirational


4 Responses to “ Giving Yourself a Business “Time Out” ”

  1. Krista Moore on

    I appreciate the “Thinking Time” reference!

    A few years ago I got into the habit of per-scheduling thinking time on my calendar, and YES I go to my big blue chair in the corner of my office, pen in hand …and I swear it makes me smarter!

    The trick for me is to MAKE the TIME for this special time, and once I do, it is on my calendar. It then becomes sacred, and no one can take it way from me.


  2. Janus on

    Hi Damien,

    Thanks for sharing, I like to know what are the key questions you have while going through this process and do you also review the questions itself to ensure they stay relevant?

  3. Jack Boyer on

    Practical and workable idea Damien. Thank you for sharing what’s helped you be successful in working on the business.

    Our business focuses on Microsoft based accounting solutions and we’ve been using “Traction” to jump start our business. This thinking time, date, pen and chair idea sounds like a great one to me.

    Warm Regards,


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