The Schultz Hour

Do you ever feel like you never seem to have time for yourself, time that you would like to use to think about big picture stuff?

Well in his latest Pinkcast, Dan Pink shares a technique he learned from George Schultz, former Secretary of the State, that may offer some help.

While Schultz was Secretary of the State, once a week he would shut the door to his office, put away all distractions, and let people know that the only people who could interrupt the next hour were his wife and the President.

Armed with only a pen and a piece of paper, Schultz would use the time to “think big, to wonder, to let his mind wander, to daydream, to set his sights a little bit forward in a way that he couldn’t” in the course of a normal day’s worth of responsibilities.

This sounds quite appealing to me, and I think I will give it a shot for a couple of weeks to see what it is like. I think my favorite part will simply be putting away all distractions – my laptop, my phone, the TV, etc., and just using that time to daydream.

I think my favorite part of the Pinkcast though was this quote from Amos Tversky, one of the world’s leading experts in judgement and human decision making:

“You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”

I’m looking forward to wasting an hour or two, I just hope Biden gets the message not to disturb me…

Here’s the Pinkcast if you are interested:

P.S. I have to admit, one of the first thoughts I had when I heard the phrase “Schultz Hour” was of watching a couple of episodes of Hogan’s Heroes..

47 thoughts on “The Schultz Hour

  1. I’m just glad we didn’t have a nuclear crisis break out during one of those Schultz hours.

    Sounds kind of like meditation. When you meditate on a regular basis, it’s amazing all the insights and new, exciting ideas that can come to your head. Sometimes it’s enough to make you want to interrupt your meditation session to write it all down.

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  2. “I know nothing! Sgt. Schultz (John Banner-how I remember that when I can’t remember what I did yesterday is one of the mysteries of life) was the best. I want my wife to knock on the door to tell me the President is there.

    You know I loved my career, but I’ve often said in retirement, if I could have one do-over, it would be to look after myself as well as I did my family and my students. We have to make time for ourselves. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary.

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    1. “I know nothing” is a line that will stick with me forever…

      sometimes when you are in the middle of a career, it’s hard to find the right balance for everything that is important…


  3. I’m totally with you on the first thought being Hogan’s Heroes. πŸ˜„ I agree with the concept of the Schultz Hour and developed my own version of it back in the ’90s. Flying for business or pleasure was the perfect opportunity to think. At that time being on a plane was like being cut off from the outside world. Once airlines added wifi, resisting the urge to sign on was harder but I still managed. Sometimes thinking was directed toward specific issues. Other times just to relaxation and opening the mind. I did my best work on airplanes because I had time to think. Long international flights were great for thinking and getting work done without being linked to the net. Using a pen and paper rather than a keyboard helped out-of-the-box thinking. Dan got this one right.

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  4. Although this sounds similar to meditation, there are some striking differences. Normally in a meditative state you may come upon a thought or idea, but you do not pursue it. You acknowledge it and let is pass as you re-center on your breathing or mantra. Meditation is to be a free flowing state of the mind where cognitive thought is released to allow the spirit to flourish. That does not lessen the benefit of this practice, in which the time allotted away from distraction is used to specifically chase a thought or idea beyond its surface. It allows the practitioner to move a thought well beyond the casual consideration our busy lives allow and deeper into the larger scheme and possibilities of what that thought or idea can hold without limits. I can certainly see where this would encourage the growth of creativity, imagination, and non-linear thinking. And, of course, “unplugging” for an hour can never be a bad thing, assuming you can be disturbed for your spouse or President….πŸ˜πŸ™

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  5. Lol, first thing I thought of was Hogan’s Heroes, lmao. But Dan is correct. An hour when and if we can steal it, is for solitude, music, thinking, no electronics. Well needed more than once a week, but rare. πŸ™‚

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