how to reflect

I’m coaching my daughter’s six-year-old basketball team this season;  and if you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I enjoy coaching kids’ sports.

Sometimes people are surprised, but one of the coaching strategies that’s very effective is to help them reflect on their performance.

Research, according to the Harvard Business Review, shows that simple self reflection exercises like this can boost your productivity by 20%.

This, of course, translates really well to your work day; and this time of year where you may be reflecting on your personal performance.  When I tried it in my work day, I quickly began to see an impact on my efficiency. I noticed patterns for working smarter, not harder.

Here are actual responses from our half-time reflection exercise during a game…

Question 1: What’s working that you can do more of?

  • Stealing it!
  • Shoot more!
  • Hugging!

Question 2: What’s not working and would you like to do differently?

  • Getting our hands up on defense.
  • Juice boxes!
  • Run faster on defense.

Question 3: What’s one thing you’ve learned?

  • We can win.
  • We have to dribble, not just run with the ball.
  • We can can keep getting better.

Some of the responses are pretty funny, and sometimes I even get blank stares.  We don’t judge the responses.  Just listen.

What I find though, is that after a few games the quality of reflection increases quickly,because they begin to reflect and correct during the game.  It’s amazing.

These Simple Reflection Questions Can Make You More Successful

These questions aren’t just for kid’s basketball.  You can adapt them easily to your daily, monthly, and end of year routine to help translate your experiences in life and work to wisdom, increasing your effectiveness.

You can also use them them in your staff meeting as a helpful reflection exercise.

A few points that can help you:

  • The order you ask the questions in is important. – The first question builds momentum for the next two questions so it’s important to ask that first.
  • If you get stuck on a question just move on. It’s okay to skip the question and come back to it later. Sometimes reflection takes a little time to gel.
  • Use a time constraint. Remember Parkinson’s Law that work expands to fill the time allocated.  Keep this to 10 minutes or less. Set the timer on your phone to help you track the time.
  • Schedule time and revisit it periodically – Reflection takes practice. Most people find it’s more effective to reflect frequently for shorter periods than reflecting for a long period once a year.

So take out your calendar and schedule 10 minutes at the end of your work days for the next week. Try this simple reflection exercise by asking the three questions above. Then note the positive impact.

What useful questions do you use for self reflection? Please share in the comments below.