I brought seven books with me.

Sitting in a comfortable chair, I sipped Diet Coke just like Bill Gates did in his recent Netflix documentary. I was alone in a cabin north of Minneapolis. Meaning: I was in heaven.

For seven days straight, I read books and wrote in a journal. Oh, and wrote part of a book.

My Think Week was awesome, and I'm planning on doing it again.

I packed light, and brought the seven books and a journal; the cabin had a shower and a bed (and some food). I did do some intermittent fasting, although I don't recommend it because it can deplete your energy for reading and thinking.

The idea of a Think Week became popular a few years ago when the news spread that Bill Gates spent one week twice per year while he was running Microsoft to ponder the future. As far back as 2005, a report about his alone time explained how he would read and think ... and that was about it. No complications, nothing but Diet Coke and books.

Now, about the books.

I read a book in a different category each day, so I had one on science, one on religion, one on business. (I wish I could tell you the names of the books, but all of them are unreleased versions sent to journalists like me who will write about them. I can tell you that one of them was by a guy named Bryson, though. Yes, it is amazing.)

Here are a few tips if you do a Think Week:

First, let everyone know what you are doing. I mean, take this very seriously. Don't just disappear for a week. Create a game plan for what you will read and what you will eat and drink, but keep it simple. Bring a high-quality journal and some pens.

My plan involved following my own seven-minute morning routine and then journaling throughout the day. One book I can tell you about is called Traction, and I jotted down notes to myself the entire time I was reading it. I elaborated on those ideas during an evening "think" time as well, planning out some ideas that include starting a nonprofit. 

I also sat in stony silence at times, thinking and pondering my future. (I spent quite a few hours in silent prayer as well.) There is nothing quite like this, and to be honest, it is hard to fill up every day with nothing but reading. Eventually, you accept your fate and start developing ideas beyond what you would jot down on a napkin at Starbucks.

Will you try the full seven-day Think Week? It's not easy. It requires some endurance, and you will need to have the support of loved ones and your boss. If you do go, I'd love to hear how it all went, what you read, and what you learned about yourself and your future plans.

Published on: Oct 8, 2019
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