How to make time for reflection


If you’re anything like me, then you end your day feeling like you did so much. But what exactly did you do? What did you actually learn?

These are two questions I try to ask myself every day -- to reflect on what I did and what I learned. The challenge is to make more time for this reflection.

So I’m committed to giving myself 10 minutes a day. I do it while I drive. In fact, I’m now turning on the Voice Memo app and recording my thoughts as a way of processing, creating content like this, and just hearing myself talk and reflect throughout my day.

Because reflection is a critical part of learning. It shows that we’re not just taking action and GTD but reflecting on what we do and why we do it. What did we come away with? What will we do tomorrow as a result?

In Strengthsfinder, there is a theme called Learner. What I admire about this theme is the inherent devotion and commitment to learning more. People who possess this learning quality are often doctors, teachers, academics, and financial advisors -- research-heavy fields have a lot of learners, as you can imagine.

For example, I recently spoke with a former teacher and he was reflecting on how he showed up each day with a lesson plan. But then he would reflect on how the lesson and execution of the plan actually unfolded. What impact did the plan actually have on the students? He looked for measurable and observable data, and he would reflect on how effectively they learned and, additionally how effectively he delivered the material.

That matters in the workplace, too, but it seems harder to execute. In an academic environment and structure, there is clear delineation between who is the teacher and who is student. There is also a more regular schedule of subjects, lesson plans, homework, and more - making the cadence of “Here’s what I did and here’s what I learned” more predictable and habitual.

But in the workplace with peers, constant change, and a sea of uncertainty, it’s harder to establish those roles and structure. Especially if we are experiencing things for the first time.

That’s where the mindset of learning comes in, and why finding time to reflect is critical. We have the power to create the structure we want to see if we choose to do so.

Brian Alvo