Scheduling time to reflect

I observe with ever more frequency the number of individuals that they don’t take time to reflect.

People don’t seem to stop and think so much about how an encounter went and how it compares against how they would have liked it to happen. Or perhaps about what worked their past week at work and where did they struggle, and why? Or even about whether someone will understand the message they are about to transmit and whether they need to adjust it somehow.

And what really drove this home for me this week was when a particular someone – my mentee – didn’t know their strengths and what they enjoyed in their work. They had never taken time to reflect on what they were really good at and what made them tick. They knew what they perceived to be their biggest weakness, which was actually a dislike more than anything else.

I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I run from one thing to the next and find it hard to stick through one thing solidly to the end. My mind also runs at an annoyingly fast pace (at least annoying to those around me) so it’s hard for me to take time out and just stop and reflect.

Therefore I now schedule half an hour each morning, as my very first meeting (90% of the time at least, sometimes the schedule has to change) to ‘reflect and plan’. I reflect on what I achieved and delivered the previous day,.I look at my notes and my actions I accumulated and I see how that pans out against the plan. Then I try and learn from this – too ambitious, too many boring tasks, didn’t break the big task into smaller less daunting tasks, nailed that meeting, finished a fantastic slide presentation really quickly etc – and use that learning to plan the coming day. On top of this I put in one hour on a Friday, in addition to my normal half an hour for the daily reflection, to look over the whole week. Same process, just for the week. And then on the first day of the month, whatever day that may be (unless it’s a weekend in which case I use the following working day), I take another hour to do the same exercise – reflect and plan.

Now, that’s just me. For my mentee she is going to write a diary. She used to write one years ago but stopped as being a wife and working mother took over. She realised, after we’d talked about it that she missed writing. So, as of yesterday she’s taking time out at the end of the day to write her diary. She has told her husband why it’s important to her so he knows to help her keep the time clear. And she is writing it in her mother tongue and not English which is our business language. She speaks four languages fluently but for this I wanted her to use her native tongue as I want the words to flow off as easily as a stream of consciousness.

The feedback today is that she wrote in her diary last night and it really helped her clear her thoughts and think of some solutions to some tasks facing her.

Now to keep it up!

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