Strategic thinking can have a significant impact on your success. It’s the fundamental skill that will lift you up and make recruiters and clients notice you. Whether you want that promotion, or to really light a fire under your business, developing your strategic thinking will set you up to surpass your goals.

If you want to start thinking more strategically about your goals, there are four steps you should consider.

1. Find the Strategic Balance

Strategic balance means thinking about where you focus your time and your resources. Most people could spend all day fielding emails and still not get anything substantial done. It’s up to you how you allocate your attention and your energy.

Experts say you should strive for a 10/90 balance of thinking big and getting stuff done. So, you decide to spend 10% of your time thinking strategically, about how to do your job better, why you’re doing the things you’re doing and if maybe there’s a better way. The rest of the time, you do your thing. And you’ll be doing it better.

2. Set Aside Strategic Thinking Time

Strategic thinking needs to be given separate, priority time. Block out your 10% of time (four hours, if you work a forty-hour week) and give yourself permission to think, ponder, and open up your mind to some blue-sky thinking.

Strategic thinking needs uninterrupted quiet, not snatched minutes sandwiched between other tasks. Shut your office door or take yourself off to a café or park so you can really think deeply.

3. Quarantine Your Strategic Thinking Time

Guard your strategic thinking time as a treasure. There will always be demands on your time, but you should commit to allocating 10% for strategic thinking. No emails, no meetings, no phone calls. Learn to say no to the ‘just this once’ demands and give this time the respect it deserves.

4. Make the Time

You’ve probably gotten used to being available 24/7 and having an eternally bubbling-over checklist of tasks. In our modern world, time to think might seem like a luxury, maybe even a self-indulgence. But your goals are important to you, right? And they deserve allocated time to really focus on what you want, how you’re doing, and what could change.

Finding and using dedicated blocks of time for strategic thinking is part of your life maintenance and essential for your career. Think of strategizing as a non-negotiable part of your life and a priority, to keep you on course to meet your goals.