With two small (active and sparky) children, a full-time job, a 70-mile daily commute, domestic chores, singing in a local choir, and voluntary roles as the Vice Chair of our nursery’s Friends Association and a trustee of a Wales-wide charitable housing association, quality thinking time is… let’s say… precious! Like many people in my situation, I have honed the art of managing my time. And it is an art, not a science; a skill that is acquired and developed through practice.
I hugely value time to think. Not the kind of thinking that involves the logistics of the children’s activities for the week, what washing needs to be done, when you’re going to reduce the pile of ironing that, due to its height, it is no longer a risk to the children, whether we have enough bananas (don’t ask). Of course, these are all important. I mean the kind of thinking that allows you to connect the dots, to be creative, to have the most stunning idea.
I have learnt to create space to think. This sometimes involves learning. The range of sources and topic areas for my learning is important to me, as are the channels of information. I am a fan of Audible, TEDTalks, Twitter, and Kindle (primarily so that I can annotate books without feeling guilty). But more often than not, I create the space to connect the dots.
It was during one of these ‘spaces’ that a couple of Steve Jobs quotes really got me thinking…
I love the concept of connecting dots. The dots represent our experiences, people, places, information. The connecting element is the process, our behaviours, our learning, how we make connections between things. The more dots we have, the greater the options we have to connect and be creative.
In Wales we have a pioneering piece of legislation – the Well-being of Future Generations Act. This Act is about improving the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of Wales. It requires public bodies to think more about the long-term, work better with people and communities and each other, look to prevent problems, and take a more joined-up approach. When making their decisions, public bodies also need to take into account the impact they could have on people living their lives in Wales, now and in the future.
I am a huge advocate of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, and am proud that the Welsh Government was so bold with its legislative powers. To realise the ambitions of this legislation does require a significant cultural and behavioural shift in how we all go about business in Wales – how we think, how we work, who we work with.
So kept simply, perhaps we just need to focus on two things: ensuring we’ve got as many dots as possible, and that we’re equipped to connect them. That way we’ll have greater opportunities to connect and be creative in our thinking and action.
And I guess this is in essence what I hope from this blog. I want this to be an informative and creative space – one that stimulates thinking, sparks discussion, spreads ideas, advocates exploration…
…provides more dots, and the opportunity to connect those dots.
So please join me on this journey of discovery… [dot, dot, dot]