Making time to think and reflect on you and your role often seems like a luxury that can’t be afforded. Yet we logically know that when we do, we gain deeper insights and come up with more creative and better ideas, solutions and decisions. We are able to leverage our wisdom and be even more effective in our role. So why don’t we do it?
‘I wish I could, but I just don’t have the time’ I hear you say, along with many of my coaching clients, but not all of them. Those who have no trouble making time to think and reflect recognise it as valuable and productive work; a different kind of work that is an important and integral part of their role. They also work in time poor roles, yet the spaces they create in their working days are sacrosanct and everyone knows it. Why? Because they know and understand the value it adds to their role and can confidently and with authority (personal belief and experience) convey that to others.
What’s stopping you?
I have come to recognise that the most common barriers to my clients making time to think are:
‘Shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ – I should be doing task-based work, I ought to be getting on with something tangible and ‘productive’, there’s more important things I need to do
Perception – worrying about what others will be thinking of them and how they will be perceived – people will think I am not working, I am wasting time, how can I when everyone else is so snowed under
Not knowing how – not reflecting because we don’t really know how, making it easy not to!
What if I told you, you could leverage your wisdom and develop a reflective habit with just 10 minutes a day.
Why create a thinking space and develop a reflective habit?
To make time to think and leverage your wisdom you have to first really want to do it.
Creating space to actively think and reflect increases your self-awareness and understanding around what it is you are choosing to reflect on at that time. This deepening of awareness, self-awareness and understanding naturally enables you to increase your personal effectiveness. Reflecting gives you the space to mull things over, look at things from different perspectives, think through different ways of approaching something. Slowing the pace down allows you to tap into and leverage, consciously and unconsciously, your knowledge, experience and wisdom. It also allows you to identify your own barriers and hesitancies and start to develop ways to overcome them.
Getting started with just 10 minutes a day
The first stumbling block to creating a thinking space is often what to think and reflect on. Areas for reflection often come from events that stay on our minds (for good or bad reasons), including situations and experiences that leave us feeling uncomfortable as well as experiences that leave us feeling upbeat and have gone well. This is because reflection should not just be about problems and issues, it should also be about success. We can gain a lot from making time to think about successes and achievements and applying our insights to other aspects of our roles.
The second stumbling block is making the time. Here I offer how to start with just 10 minutes a day…
Developing the habit of reflective practice
Reflective practice is both a behaviour and a skill. It takes time for it to embed as a natural part of what you do.
To start to develop the habit of reflective practice I encourage you to:
- Take 10 minutes out at the end of each the day to reflect on what has come up for you. Consider adding it to your online calendar so a reminder notification comes up for you
- Run through in your mind your day and see what aspects you would like to spend 10 minutes reflecting on
- At the end of each week take a longer 30 minute time out to consolidate your 10 minute reflections
- Note down your reflections so you can start to see patterns and themes, and can use it as a resource for learning and applying your best practice