From time to time, especially when things are hectic and you have a lot on your plate, it can be of great value to sit down and reflect.
When we reflect on things and write down or sketch out what we need to reflect on, we get whatever is spinning around in our minds out of our system. Everything that we more or less consciously think about is allowed to take concrete form and we can observe it from a distance.
We get some perspective on our thoughts and get a feel for how much inner space and energy something is demanding. We simply get to empty our minds, and at least to me, this feels incredibly good.
Reflecting simply gives me inner peace.
A tool worthy of the toolbox
But, for us who want to do what we need to get done with as little effort as possible, reflecting is something more than a therapeutic and relaxing technique. Reflecting can be an effective way to take quantum-leaps towards where we are striving to go within our business, in our career or in a project.
But in order for this to happen, we need to put a twist on the reflection, since it is in the twist the reflection really can take off.
Take the thought one step further
To be concrete: when you are reflecting or brainstorming freely, whenever you come to think of something you need to do or get started on, make it tangible and concrete by defining new to-do-tasks, by adding new projects to your project-overview and by noting what is reference-material or –information.
If you do not do this, the insights you have gained from reflecting will stay in the sketch you have made or on the brainstorming-sheet. However, if you do make proper note of it, you will make use of what you just realized by reflecting and will move from a notion of something, to a concrete thought, to action and thereby to progress.
- Find a time when you aren’t able to do anything else of all the things you need to do. This is what I refer to as “free time”.
For me this might be from the moment I sit down on a train until I need to show my ticket or from when I take my seat on an airplane until the “Fasten seatbelts”-sign is switched off.
It could be when you are waiting for someone who is late for a meeting or when you are in the backseat of your colleague’s car while he gives you a ride to the conference-location. It can be when the system is down or when you are waiting to be logged into the numerous programs that initiate as you start your computer in the morning.
- Notice what you think about then, what comes to mind and fills it spontaneously.
- Sketch or draw freely in a notebook or on a new, empty sheet in your notepad. Write down whatever comes to mind in a Word-document or create a mind-map over what is floating around aimlessly in your mind.
Write whatever you want in the Buster Benson service 750words.com (which will also provide you with a simple visual analysis of what you have written) or draw circles, boxes and other figures to illustrate how it all connects on your whiteboard at the office.
- Whenever you think of something you could do, add it as a task on your to-do-list.
- If you sketch out something that will take more than a day to do and complete, add it as a project on your project-overview and define the first step as a to-do-task (which you then add to your to-do-list).
- If you come to think of something you want to do later on at some point, scan the sketch or take a picture of it with your iPhone and save it amongst other documents concerning the same subject.
Or alternatively, add it to your wiki for reference-information or create a new post on Simplenote (which happens to be my current tool) or in Evernote.
Your reflecting and brainstorming has now turned thoughts into consequence and progress.
Let your mind fly and reach new realms of success
If you bring a twist to the time you take to reflect and brainstorm by concretizing to-do-tasks, projects and reference-material, you will get a whole lot more out of thinking outside the box.
Those brilliant ideas are allowed to take form and it is easier to realize them. What this might in turn mean to you and to your business, we might only imagine.
What’s your way?
In what situations are you given “free time” to reflect? A penny for your thoughts…