Think back for a moment. When did you last come up with a really innovative and ground breaking idea? When did you solve that business problem that had been dogging you for ages? When was the last time you made a business development breakthrough? When was the last time you had a revelation about your future?
I’ll bet a pound to a penny that it wasn’t whilst you were slogging your way through your emails or on the telephone to an irate client and I am darned sure it wasn’t in a meeting. No; the kind of outcomes we have been describing come from reflective introspection in an environment that you find conducive to thought. This is called Purple Time.
The big problem with Purple Time is getting enough of it. Come to think of it, drop the Purple and apply the statement to time in general but whereas with Red Time (activity) you can use, pretty much, whatever you have available to get things done this does not apply to Purple Time. This is especially true if you have a job to do and are expected to do some business development as well.
Consider the time you spend doing activities as fast food time: get it and consume it on the hoof. But, Purple time is more like preparing a fine meal at home for someone special. The lead up to it is all important and the consumption should be considered and savoured and it should definitely not come with a deadline. “Hurry up with your creme brulee would you darling I’ve got the property team arriving in 5”. I think not!
So if you want to be more in control and have a clear idea of where you are going here are my three steps to Purple Heaven: –
- Figure out your Purple Time. It can be different for all of us. Mine used to be running but since I can no longer run it is walking. I also experience Deep Purple Time when I am driving with the radio off although I don’t recommend this as it can be highly dangerous. What were you doing when you had your last Eureka moment?
- Stack the Purple Deck. If you don’t make Purple Time it just won’t happen I’m afraid. It’s not really a matter of booking it in; I’ve yet to add an entry to my Outlook calendar that said “Experience Purple Time”. Whatever your Purple activity is make sure that you go out of your way to get some, preferably on a weekly basis.
- Write things down. If you are not very careful your special time will turn into a sort of a thinking-shop in the same way that many brainstorming sessions at work become nothing more than talking shops. This is all very well but it is the outcome we want not the experience. So, when you emerge back into a less than Purple reality write down what you came up with and, where necessary, insert some tasks into your chosen task management system. Action, action, action!