Reflection is a key factor in the learning process and is essential when we try to systematically improve. There are a lot of different techniques for reflection depending on what you want to improve and whether you want to reflect individually or as a team. Although many recognize reflection as important, few actually take the time to reflect often and regularly. This is why I propose the simple technique ‘Daily introspection’.
The purpose of ‘Daily introspection’ is to establish a habit of thinking about what you do and how it affects your work and the world around you in general.
- Create a reminder for when you would like to do your introspection (preferably morning).
- Choose ONE tasks/issue from the previous day.
- Write a few lines of why you think you did the right thing, or how you could have improved the situation.
- Throw away what you write.
These steps should not take you more than 3-5 minutes, which is just short enough to not find excuses for being busy. If you don’t have 5 minutes a day for something, you don’t want to do it. To keep it this short it is important that you do not choose more than one or two issues. If you really need to reflect some more, tell yourself that this is an extraordinary reflection. Stick with the short reflection until you feel that you have established a habit.
Some of you will probably want to keep what you write as reference for later use. Maybe you want to look back and see what you have written a month or a year ago. Although this probably could give you some value, I advise strongly against it. To establish a habit by being consistent, you should aim for an easy flow. When you think you might read it at a later time, you will start to worry about how you write, which raises the bar for the technique as a whole. Besides, setting up a filing system for 365 reflections a year might discourage you.
If you try ‘Daily introspection’ I hope you will find this technique useful. I would love to hear your experience with introspections, and other techniques for making this a habit.