Think weeks

Protecting space for thinking

Think weeks
Photo by Gabriel Dizzi / Unsplash

Think Weeks were popularized by Bill Gates as a chance to escape the constant distractions of everyday life to spend an entire week in learning mode: reading books, exploring ideas, wandering in thought. I’ve done them solo for a few years, and they’ve consistently been some of the most creative periods of my life.

Last year, I tried my first think week with Michael Thomas, a friend whose intellectual rigor, original thought, and polymathic range I’ve come to admire. We flew to Mexico, rented an Airbnb, and spent a few days reading, exploring ideas, testing theories, and eating vegan tacos. Michael and I just returned from another learning retreat where we carved out a few days for intellectual and entrepreneurial exploration. Such spaciousness is a privilege, but learning retreats are more possible than we might think.

Protecting the smallest spaces to let our curiosity roam—even just two hours—can be enough to revisit the curiosity of our childhood, a curiosity that might have faded into the background of a life defined by adult responsibilities and full schedules.