One simple habit to increase your productivity (and make you more successful!)

Summary: Spending 5-10 minutes a day in structured and honest personal reflection can help you to increase your productivity and become more successful, by making self-assessment and learning a core part of your daily routine. 

How would you feel if I told you that you could increase your productivity and make yourself more successful for less than 10 minutes a day? Incredulous? Interested? Intrigued? All of the above?

Well you can, and it’s as simple as allocating 5-10 minutes of your day to structured personal reflection.

Personal reflection isn’t about looking at your reflection in a mirror, yet it’s pretty close. It’s about spending time engaged in self-assessment, having an honest conversation with yourself in order to objectively assess your day so that you can learn and grow.

It doesn’t take long, however it’s the structure and the honesty that are most critical to successful personal reflection that increases your productivity and success.

Structure

Personal reflection needs a consistent structure in order to add long-term value and growth. There are a few simple points to apply:

  • If you’re serious about it then treat it seriously – there are no half-measures
  • Allocate a specific time towards the end of each day for your reflection, and stick to it daily
  • Undertake your daily personal reflection in a quiet place, on your own
  • Have a dedicated book or file on your computer/tablet/smartphone where you capture your reflections
  • Use the same reflection questions every day (see below)

Honesty

Being honest with yourself is critical, otherwise you’re wasting your time completely. That doesn’t mean that you should be critical of yourself; your goal is to objectively assess your own actions and behaviours.

How-To

There are a few quick steps to follow in order to run your personal reflection session:

  • Make some space for yourself and grab your equipment for note-taking
  • Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds then slowly exhale
  • Close your eyes and think about your day
  • Ask yourself, “What three things did I do well today?” and take some time to think
  • When you’re ready, open your eyes and record your answers (I recommend using quick bullet points)
  • Close your eyes and ask yourself, “What could I have done differently today for a better outcome?” and take some time to think
  • When you’re ready, open your eyes and record your answers
  • Close your eyes and ask yourself, “What was the biggest thing that I learnt today?” and take some time to think
  • When you’re ready, open your eyes and record your answer
  • Finally, close your eyes and ask yourself, “What one thing will I do differently tomorrow?” and take some time to think
  • When you’re ready, open your eyes and record your answer

You’re done! Now all you need to do is follow through on what you decided you will do differently tomorrow, as well as taking on board what you have learnt today. Review your reflections weekly and monthly to identify your progress and development opportunities, and take action each day to be the best you that you can be.

Good luck!

About the Author

Jeremy Godwin is an author, coach, consultant and self-development specialist based in Australia. He has more than 20 years of leadership experience in several blue-chip companies and has run his own consulting and development business, JG Development Solutions, since 2012.

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