In any mix of tools and strategies, our ability to take time for reflection also has to be there as it helps us prioritize and deliver on our goals and intentions.
As per Peter Drucker’s famous words, it ensures that “we are doing the right things, not just things right.”
In our business and personal lives, given the noise factor and sometimes the conflicting demands, it is easy to miss the obvious when we don’t step back to reflect.
We lose PERSPECTIVE.
Here are two different examples of clients and their response to productivity and reflection.
Which approach do you identify with more?
Michael was a busy manager in an industry that was fraught with drama, change and ongoing battles. As soon as he walked into the office, way before others arrived, he would “hit the ground” running. In his words, “there is so much to get done, I don’t even have time to breathe, let alone reflect!” Being productive meant attending to things as they came to his attention.
Jane, on the other hand, realized that her effectiveness as the director of a division was heavily reliant on her ability to make the best-considered decisions she could rather than “shoot from the hips” and be in the reactive, fire-fighting mode. Each morning she would close the door for half an hour and focus on the day ahead as well as do a quick review of the previous day.
Jane said no matter what challenges unfolded during the day, this practice enabled her to “act, not react” and to bring calmness to events. He felt this time in the morning was her special time, which worked as an anchor for the rest of the day. (Names changed)
Helpful Coaching Questions
1) What is working for you with your current approach?
2) What one thing could help you be more productive?
3) How could creating some ‘reflection gaps’ in your day boost your productivity?
4) When might you best schedule or take these reflection gaps? Is it first thing in the morning, gaps in between meetings or end of the day?
5) Commit to doing this for a month and notice the difference!
“Don’t worry about breaks every 20 minutes ruining your focus on a task. Contrary to what I might have guessed, taking regular breaks from mental tasks actually improves your creativity and productivity. Skipping breaks, on the other hand, leads to stress and fatigue.” –Tom Rath
Jasbindar is a business psychologist and leadership coach who helps people get their mojo back in their careers, leadership and lives.