Reflecting is A Good Thing. It raises our awareness – of self and others – rather than just bouncing from one situation to the next.
Reflecting helps us to process experiences – what we did, how we did it, how we thought and felt – and make sense of stuff that happens.
Reflecting helps us spot the insights and patterns and thus learn from the things that we do and experience.
If we reflect on the working day just as it comes to an end we’re much more likely to be more effective tomorrow.
Try these prompts (you can use the lot or be selective; no hard and fast rules) to guide your reflection:
- How am I feeling?
- What’s gone well today?
- Who have I enjoyed working with today?
- What am I happy about?
- What have I done that’s new?
- What didn’t go so well?
- How did I feel about that?
- Which of my strengths have I used well today?
- What have I learned today?
- What will I continue doing tomorrow?
- Who can I help?
- What will I do differently tomorrow?
Another benefit of reflecting on your day is that you will raise awareness of your state – how you see yourself being / thinking / feeling. That’s important as it can affect how your personality traits show up tomorrow.
Some interesting research in the U.S.A. asked people to rate how they felt (using dimensions of personality such as extraversion, conscientiousness and agreeableness) at the end of the work day and then tracked what happened the next day – and a relationship showed up.
For example, setting personal goals was associated with higher conscientiousness the next – so at some level the respondents were aiming for their goals. High levels of intrinsic motivation (working because ‘I want to’ rather than ‘someone/thing makes me’) showed up the next day as being more open and agreeable with colleagues.
What’s interesting here is that personality – for so long thought to be static – interacts with what goes on around us. Sure, our personality traits are consistent; the variety seems to come in around how they show up the next day, depending on what’s gone on the day before. All the more reason to reflect at the end of the day, so we’re more aware of our behaviour tomorrow.
For more on this, check the BPS post here.