In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, information overload is a serious problem – not only for senior managers, but for mid-level employees as well. The complexity and rapidly changing business environment we exist in can often lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to develop cogent and coherent strategies. It becomes harder to prioritize and actually finish any given project in a timely fashion. That’s why it is critical that everyone budget time for unstructured reflection.
So what is the most fundamental concept behind prioritizing reflective thought? Time. Time is the one precondition that is non-negotiable. Whether that means you schedule one hour each evening, or religiously take a half-hour’s break mid-day, you need to dedicate 30 minutes per day – minimum – for personal development.
Another key component of “me time” is to make sure that you are not only reflecting on long-term strategies, but that you are also questioning today’s strategy – are you on course with your projections, are you prioritizing tasks correctly, are your team members on board and what is actually reality when it comes to your workspace.
In reflective thought, you will examine your underlying assumptions, core beliefs and knowledge, while also drawing connections between apparently disparate pieces of information.
For those who have risen to the top of their profession and occupy key leadership positions, you might consider getting a coach. You will definitely benefit from structured dialogue with a trusted partner. Coaches can prompt you with questions and observations and challenge your inherit beliefs.
Another great tool is to develop a list of questions that prompts your reflective thought. What is your purpose in the organization? What would you do differently to motivate yourself and others to better performance? What do I not know right now that I should be studying and learning about? What unique value do I add to the company and how can I maximize that unique ability? What do I want to be remembered for?
Regardless of how you set up your reflective time, it’s important you realize that most top managers and thought leaders are in their positions because they took the time necessary to think through things – away from the hurdy-gurdy of meetings, twitter feeds and emails. Reflection is often invaluable – it’s even said that Einstein came up with the theory of relativity while riding his bicycle. Think about that for a moment . . .