Reflect All Year with a Clarity Break™

by Sue Hawkes

As another year rushes to a close, most of us feel compelled to reflect and take stock of the year. We’ll ask ourselves things like, what did I accomplish? What did I contribute? What did I learn? What is unfinished? While these reflections are timely, waiting until year-end provides a last minute, rearview mirror look at things. Imagine what would occur if instead you consistently had a practice to reflect and create space for strategic thinking during your week? With the New Year approaching, I encourage you to do just that and commit to taking Clarity Breaks™.

The Clarity Break™
A Clarity Break™ is a daily, weekly or monthly time set aside to reflect and focus “on” the business instead of “in” the business. If you’re just starting to take Clarity Breaks™, I recommend 60-90 minutes a week away from the office. You need to pry yourself away from your work environment – and all the distractions and interruptions that go with it. This will allow you to think more clearly and stay focused. Head to a park or coffee shop, sit in front of a legal pad and let the thoughts pour out on paper. As challenging as it may be, work to maintain a “technology free” space and leave your phone and laptop put away for the duration of your time. The world will survive without you, I promise! Clarity Breaks™ have no agenda and should not be used to create more to-do lists. They are meant for the high-level thinking and reflection that often gets pushed to the wayside during our busy days as business leaders. One way to ensure this time is held is to schedule it on your calendar. I do this myself, and have a rule that the Clarity Break™ appointment can move if necessary, but never be deleted from my calendar.

Questions to Get You Thinking
• Is the Vision and Plan for our business/department on track?
• Are we focused on the most important things right now?
• Do I have the Right People in the Right Seats to grow?
• What is the “one people move” that I must make this quarter?
• If I lose a key player, do I have someone ready to fill the seat?
• Do I understand what my direct reports truly love to do and are great at doing?
• Am I leveraging their strengths?
• Are our processes working well?
• What seems overly complicated right now that must be simplified?
• What can I delegate to others in order to use my time more effectively?
• What can we do to be more proactive versus being reactive?
• What can I do to improve communication?
• What’s my top priority this week? This month?
• Are we acting with the greater good in mind? Am I?
• What can I let go of to free up my time?
• What’s one amazing opportunity we could take advantage of?
• What are the current trends and how could we leverage them?
• How can we/I be more effective?

Benefits of a Clarity Break™
Clarity Breaks™ are one of the most important tools in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). However, every leader can benefit from a clearer Vision for their business and future. Although busy leaders often believe setting aside time for reflection and high-level thinking is wasteful, Clarity Breaks™ will actually give you time back. You’ll have a clearer picture of where the business is going and what your priorities are, and this will allow you to be more intentional and effective when working “in” the business. Additionally, taking consistent Clarity Breaks™ will bolster your confidence as a leader and help you identify and address big picture solutions so you can implement them before you miss an opportunity. I invite you to kick off the New Year by committing to regular Clarity Breaks™ and see how it shapes your future from the windshield, not the rearview mirror.

“Clarity Breaks™ will keep your head clear, confidence high and focus strong.”
–Gino Wickman, Traction

Sue HawkesReflect All Year with a Clarity Break™