I find regular reflection being one of those habits that are really helpful, even crucial once you practice – but quite hard to implement. It’s a bit like exercise – when you need it the most, in busy or stressful times, you tend to practice it least. When I do reflect regularly I find that I come up with much more new ideas, I feel more in control over what I’m doing and more content with the thoughts I’m having.
The first step is just making space for it, having time to sit down and look through what you’re doing, what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling. This is hard enough – when don’t you have a million other pressing things to do? For me, I’m trying to at least make it a part of my weekly review. Then I know I have a time that I’ve set aside when I’m going to do it.
The second step is knowing how to do it. Some people I’ve worked with have found it really hard to sit down and think about these things, they schedule the time for reflection, but then sit down and have nothing to write about. One way to get around this is to think of a question you’d like to ask yourself, and then reflect on that question. If it’s still empty, you can make the question more and more narrow until you’ve got something tangible enough for you to think about.
The third step is having the tools to make it easy to keep the habit. I find blogging being one such tool, I also would like to use Twitter as a sort of micro-reflection throughout the day.
Another good habit that many have (especially girls are good at this!) is journaling. I always had a hard time journaling, until I began the practice of journaling around a question, topic or issue that was relevant to me. This made journaling make a lot more sense to me.
Thinking actively about trying to have these three steps in place I’ve found reflection becomes an easier practice to implement and keep.
Photo by johnrite.