Thinking is hard work. And it takes time and energy to get done.
And yet, when my schedule is full, thinking is last thing I have time for. To force myself to slowdown and take a look around me, I've found one short reminder that seems to work.
Stop. Think. Go.
Stopping is the hardest bit. You simply have to let go of whatever you were doing. More importantly you have to force your mind to stop whirling and worrying. Turn off the cell phone and shut down the lid of the laptop. If you feel you need to collect your thoughts, use a blank piece of paper and a pen - its much less distracting than any wordprocessor or outlining tool I know of.
Thinking is the fun part almost. Once you are in deep freeze mode, the ideas come and you are able to focus. But as each idea or thought arrives, you get the wild impulse to rush around and put the idea into practice. Don't! You are still in stop mode. Wait a few more minutes and more good things will come.
Going back to work is the final step. Don't want to turn the thinking into dreaming.
I've actually printed this out and placed it on my desk. Works for me.