When I am working on an important project I find time to process my thoughts indirectly. This means I engage in other activities that I find enjoyable, which allow me the luxury of standing back from my work and looking it at it from a detached perspective. Then I see gaps as well as the big picture.

Of course, one of my favorite ways to do that is to take my German Shepherd, Sita, out for a walk in the wilderness. The picture above was taken by my son, Gabe, during such a walk last Saturday in Shenandoah National Park, just about 10 miles south of the Front Royal entrance on the Compton Gap trail.

In my work with over 100 CEOs a common complaint is, ‘I don’t have time to think strategically about my work.’ Or another version, ‘I wish I could devote time to work on my business instead of just in my business.’ That’s one reason I developed the Visionary Leadership Academy for senior association executives. If that interests you, check it out here.

I have shared two different ways to get that needed distance to be more productive: (1) a personal activity that feeds your soul, or (2) a professional development experience that provides both the distance from day-to-day work and content that is germane to your performance improvement. How will you find what you need this week to do your best thinking?

Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous. – Confucius