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Set Aside Time Just for Thinking

reflection time

In the busy world of the leader and manager, it’s easy to leap from one task to the next until the day, week, month, or quarter is over.

In the mad rush to keep things moving, we often let focused, reflective thinking fall by the wayside. Big mistake.

Reflection time not only improves your self-awareness (something lacking in many leaders); it also helps you perform better. One study published by Harvard Business School found that people who devoted 15 minutes at the end of each day to think about what they’d learned performed 23 percent better after 10 days than people who didn’t reflect. Several other studies have reached similar conclusions.

We encourage leaders, even the busiest of executives, to set aside 30 minutes of time per week to think and reflect. Good questions to consider include:

– what are my (and my team’s) true priorities this week?
– what can I delegate?
– what am I avoiding?
– what do I need to learn?
– who on the team needs my help?
– are we tangibly executing strategy?
– what lessons can I take from the past week?

As you reflect, write your thoughts. You can even speak them into a recorder, Agent Dale Cooper style.

After a while, you’ll have a week-to-week record of your growth as a leader Looking back on that journey can be highly instructive—and point you toward where to go next.

It’s a good thing to live in the present moment as you lead your team. But a great leader balances that with dedicated time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Picture of Alicia Thrasher

Alicia Thrasher

Alicia is cofounder and CEO of Manager360. Previously, she brought her leadership, vision, and strategic oversight to many executive positions, including leading programs for eBay/PayPal, Google, and Anheuser-Busch. She is the coauthor, with Joel Trammell, of The Manager's Playbook: Make Exceptional People Management Your Competitive Advantage.

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