I’ve always been a natural reflector, and feel best when I’ve had the opportunity to spend time reflecting on (and celebrating!) what I’ve done and choosing what I want to do next. My reflecting and planning time is really important to me, yet it’s something that I can let slip (especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or not feeling so good – ironically the times it’s most important!).
Recently, one of the outcomes of a coaching session I received was recognising the importance for me of more regular reflection and planning to help me stay on track. I always spend the last working day of each month reflecting and planning (I use the Your Best Year book* as a guide) and I block this day out in my calendar.
But a month is quite a long time, and I realised it would be helpful to check in on a more regular basis (and commit to doing so). I quite like the structure of reflecting by asking myself set questions, but I didn’t love the standard weekly ones in Your Best Year (and they were missing some key ones for me). So I used some of the ones from Your Best Year, some I’ve found useful in the past, and added some of my own too. In case you’re interested, the questions I ask myself each week are:
- What did I achieve this week?
- What helped me to achieve these things?
- What hindered my productivity?
- Am I honouring my own needs and putting myself first?
- Am I proud of how I have been this week?
- What will I change next week?
These prompts have been incredibly helpful for me in helping me close off one week and move onto the next. I like the openness of the questions; sometimes the responses are more about my work, sometimes they’re more about my personal life.
As well as considering what to ask myself, it was important to figure out how best to complete the reflection, and when to integrate it into my routine. I don’t have a weekly routine; I’m sometimes not at home and I’m sometimes working different days. So I thought the best way for me to do it would be to set up an electronic form that I can access from anywhere (laptop or mobile).
I’ve set up a Google form and emailed it to myself and starred the email. That way I can access it easily from anywhere I have internet access. The additional bonus which I didn’t really consider but have found useful already is the fact that because I’m using a Google Form I can see my responses to each question together. I’ve already spotted trends by doing this which is really helpful (e.g. blocking out time and using my bullet journal helps me immensely, whilst it’s often my emotional wellbeing that hinders my productivity).
I complete the form on a Sunday; usually in the evening but sometimes earlier if I know I have plans for the evening or just feel like doing it earlier. The flexibility works really well for me and I’ve even managed to commit to doing it when I’ve been away.
I’m now six weeks into the new routine and I absolutely love it. It doesn’t take long, and it really helps me celebrate my successes of the week (and appreciate them, even though they may only be small things) and plan my next week; not just what I plan to *do* but also how I plan to *be*.
Do you reflect and plan? Might you find it useful to do so if not? I’m finding it so beneficial and hope sharing this helps you too.
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