We live in a strange time where activity equals progress and thinking does not. Thinking is considered inactivity – wasteful, non-productive, worse than sleeping. (At least napping at your desk recharges the battery.) In today’s world there is little tolerance for thinking.
For those that think regularly – or have thought once or twice over the last year – we know thinking is important. If we stop and think, everyone thinks thinking is important. It’s just that we’re too busy to stop and think.
It’s difficult to quantify how bad things are – especially if we’re to compare across industries and continents. Sure it’s easy (and demoralizing) to count the hours spent in meetings or the time spent wasting time with email. But they don’t fully capture a company’s intolerance to thinking. We need a tolerance metric and standardized protocol to measure it.
I’ve invented the Thinking Tolerance Metric, TTM, and a way to measure it. Here’s the protocol: On Monday morning – at your regular start time – find a quiet spot and think. (Your quiet spot can be home, work, a coffee shop, or outside.) No smart phone, no wireless, no meetings. Don’t talk to anyone. Start the clock and start thinking. Think all day.
The clock stops when you receive an email from your boss stating that someone complained about your lack of activity. At the end of the first day, turn on your email and look for the complaint. If it’s there, use the time stamp to calculate TTM using Formula 1:
TTM = Time stamp of first complaint – regular start time. 
If TTM is measured in seconds or minutes, that’s bad. If it’s an hour or two, that’s normal.
If there is no complaint for the entire day, repeat the protocol on day two. Go back to your quiet spot and think. At the end of day two, check for the complaint. Repeat until you get one. Calculate TTM using Formula 1.
Once calculated, send me your data by including it in a comment to this post. I will compile the data and publish it in a follow-on post. (Please remember to include your industry and continent.)