Do you have time in your day to think and reflect or are you drowning in information overload and ‘doing’ too much? How can you make reflection a natural part of the way you work?
Why do you need to reflect in the workplace? Because it helps you to understand how well you are doing or not doing, make sense of complex issues, resolve problems and come up with new ideas. And it stops you making kneejerk decisions you later regret.
Do you recognise these reasons people give for not spending time reflecting?
- ‘I’m too busy solving today’s problem’
- ‘My boss will think I’m lazy’
- ‘Why would I want to do that?’
- ‘It’s not how I learn’
- ‘It’s boring’
- ‘I don’t know how‘
It doesn’t have to be this way. The Digital Age is providing new opportunities for the way we reflect that is highly proactive and challenges the stereotypical image of sitting alone in a darkened room with a towel over your head. And it’s being enhanced by technology and social media. Many of us are only just beginning to learn how to learn with these new tools.
Reflecting in today’s digital world is more about being collaborative, rather than solitary; active rather than passive; energising rather than dull (whatever our personality and natural preferences).
How do I personally reflect? I blog, tweet and belong to online communities and engage in a conversation about my own and other people’s reflections. That way I learn, have new ideas and solve problems. I build it in to my daily work flow so I reflect in real time about the issues that really matter.
Here are 5 ways for you to develop your reflective capacity in order to sustain your employability in today’s world:
- Capture your reflections. Find a method that suits you – video diary, audio diary, old-fashioned diary, write a regular blog or tweet. Talk it out. Determine what you will record, how often and when to take stock and review. Then build this habit into your current routine so you get a regular reminder and it pushes you to do it. Capture what is working well for you. Reflect on why you are successful. Break it down bit by bit.
- Join a community of practice, online or face-to-face. Find like-minded people in your field or who want to learn, reflect on their development, and share ideas and good practices. Coach and mentor one another.
- Ask great questions. Use online groups to help you resolve issues or seize opportunities – what works, doesn’t work, could be done cheaper, better, faster? Run a poll on LinkedIn. Target a question on Twitter to a crowd who might know and tap into the wisdom of others. Listen to the answers, literally and intuitively.
- Get a coach or a mentor. Find someone on whom you can bounce your ideas, thoughts, feelings, learning and concerns or go to for wise counsel. Look for someone who can provide the right balance of support and challenge for you.
- Get feedback from other people on how well you are progressing, what you did well, what you could improve. Share in real time, doing real work.
How do you build in reflection time? What do you gain from it? What works for you?
Leave a comment and I’ll send you 5 great questions you can ask yourself to help develop your reflective capacity!