Thinking Day

I recently read an interesting post by John Donahoe the current CEO of eBay where he talked about how he schedules himself a “thinking day” about every 3 months. It is a way for him to zoom out and refocus on things that are really important to him and his organization. The idea of this has stuck with me and I thought to myself, but this is a blog about hiring software. Then I thought, “No, this is a blog about people. Real people doing real jobs in real life.”

Yes, hiring is part of your everyday but it doesn’t change the fact that each of us could use a reset from time-to-time, a time to sit back and think about the issues that are really important. Most of us don’t have the luxury of taking a whole day to “think” but I had to ask myself, what if we could have a “thinking hour” or “even a thinking 20 minutes”, I wondered if that time wouldn’t be revitalizing, empowering and day changing.

Shhh! Do Not Disturb!

Mr. Donahoe blocks out a day on his calendar ahead of time and goes into an empty office where he can take time for himself uninterrupted. In our world of cubicle and open office environments, many of us are not able to be alone. A few things to try is to come in a little early of leave a little later than your colleagues. I have noticed when I come in early, I am not only uninterrupted but I am also able to think more clearly because my mind is not yet cluttered from the day’s activities. If this isn’t possible, headphones and some peaceful music can transport you to a different place.

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Write it Out!

With a white board handy, the CEO of eBay dumps his thoughts and maps out different ideas and processes. He explained that at the end of the exercise, he will take a step back and be able to see things completely different or to see a different path. Personally I have noticed that as well. When I write things down, my perspective changes, my clarity of thought improves and I am more able to see the best way to approach a situation. If a white board isn’t available to you, grab a notebook and start writing.


I can almost guarantee that after writing and thinking, there are places that you would like to improve or adjustments that need to be made. Take those items, pull them out, define them, write or type them up and keep them in a place that you can refer to often. Realize that change is a must in order to improve and forge ahead. Don’t be afraid! Dive in. Make the changes that need to be made. Even if they are small, as long as they are consistently taking you in the right direction, progress will be made, ground will be covered and improvements will emerge. Adopting new technology can sometimes be scary for many of us but it can also make some pretty amazing strides towards a more efficient and effective hiring process.

Be Accountable

It is human nature to become comfortable with life and to go back to our old ways. Don’t let that happen. Take the “thinking day” knowledge you gained and wrote out and establish some accountability. Who will help you be accountable? Of course, the most important person is you. Be accountable to you. Stretch yourself, reach for something better and don’t be afraid to smile at your accomplishments. Sometimes we need an extra boost. In that case, find someone that you can rely on, someone that you can trust, and tell them of the plans you have and ask them to help you be accountable. That may be a day marked on a calendar to follow up or a daily encouragement on Facebook. No matter how you choose to do it, be accountable to yourself and maybe others. Hold yourself to those goals you have set.

Today is the day. Find some time on your calendar to have some thinking time. Don’t be afraid to try. Jack Canfield said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear,” Go after what you want and conquer your fear.

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