This wasn’t a random cappuccino I grabbed at Munch. It was an important step in a process I enjoy. Munch is really one of my all-time favorite spots where I like to have breakfast and sit down to work in the large garden early in the mornings.
I worked on a cover letter, to mail to potential clients for a new project. The basic idea was already in my head as I sat down. But I wasn’t ready to begin writing. The right words had not fallen into place yet.
Then I recalled a seminar of Dr. Edward de Bono’s I once attended. He explained a wonderful tool for evaluating your thinking. One audience member proposed that she could use this tool well whilst driving to work, but he stopped her in her tracks:
He felt strongly that it was key to sit quietly with pen and paper when one did this exercise. He also was particular about the order in which you needed to interrogate your mind and probe the situation. There were steps. You could not attack the thinking from all angles.
Process works really well for me too. It turns out that processes and steps better facilitate thinking. The brain can only work so fast. And I find that my mind makes up the final composition of a letter while I take time to format the document on my laptop. Place a logo; add the date. A page number, should it be a longer document. And so on.
I also keep notebook and pen nearby. That’s where I write down key words I want to get across. My brain thinks of ideas and sends the message to my left hand to pick up the pen and write. It is admittedly slower than typing on the screen. You need to keep spelling in mind too. The pen doesn’t do that for you. And you want to make it legible; so you can recognise the ideas later! It is a discipline.
This process facilitates clearer thoughts for me. Between sips of cappuccino and writing notes, steps slow my down and the result is better thinking, because routines are important.