Zero Based Thinking

Thinking is a high-energy, time-consuming activity. Therefore, humans naturally try to think in the shortest time possible and then return to their usual routines. As a result, you spend over 95 percent of your life operating on autopilot.

The same is true of your daily activities. We are creatures of habit and once a habit has been formed, we seldom think consciously about it again. However, many habits formed in the past might not be relevant today: They no longer support your new goals, lifestyle or professional performance. Cutting back on these habit-related activities will free up vast amounts of energy that can be reinvested in more valuable activities.

You can actively steer this process of cutting back on non-supportive habits and activities by using the technique of zero-based thinking. In zero-based thinking ask yourself a brutal question: Knowing what I know now, which of my current activities would I no longer initiate if I could start from the beginning?

The answer to this question may be surprising. Next, commit to finding ways to reduce or even eliminate these habits and non-supportive activities. The resulting energy boost will be momentous and soon you will be brimming with creative ideas to fill the new space created in your life.  

PS: If you operate in an environment where you have to create a lot of recurring reports, apply zero based thinking in the following way: Send the digital version of your report protected by password. Include a message that people can get the password by sending you a separate email. If, after a few weeks, no one has bothered to contact you, this report is probably something you can eliminate in the future…. 

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/logolis

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