While there has been a lot written about the benefits of mindfulness, most find it difficult to incorporate time for reflection into their work life.
Dr. David Peterson, Director of Executive Coaching and Leadership at Google, recommends setting aside one minute every day to consider how your day has unfolded. He suggests reviewing the following five questions:
- What new thing did I do today?
- What worked well?
- What didn’t?
- What did I learn?
- What one thing will I do differently tomorrow?
He believes so strongly in the process and need for the habit that he created a “reflection calendar.” In addition to the one-minute daily practice noted above, he also spends two minutes at the end of every week asking:
- What progress did I make this week? Am I satisfied with that?
- What do I need to focus on next week?
In addition to expanding your awareness, asking yourself these questions helps you organize yourself mentally, and gives you a sense of control and forward momentum. For goal-oriented executives, weekly check-ins against milestones helps keep your feet under you during stressful periods at work.
Knowing how important career development is for all executives, Peterson also recommends that you check in with yourself monthly, using the following questions:
- How am I doing on my development?
- What do I need to do to keep growing?
- How will I get meaningful feedback?
This habit is critical for senior executives. You must be your own advocate and request resources to develop your leadership skills. This approach allows you to evaluate your skills in real time, which will then provide you with the business rationale for the additional support you’re requesting.
On a practical note, given how busy we all are, drop these questions into your calendar as a recurring appointment so you don’t forget to ask them. What gets scheduled is what gets done.
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