Self-reflection is one of the most powerful tactics to help you progress, reflect on successes and manage pressures. Working in high-pressure environments is when taking some time to reflect on projects, tasks and successes can reap rewards.
“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey.
does working harder overcome issues with productivity?
Researchers from Harvard Business School wanted to review the belief that to overcome any issues with workload and productivity you should continue to plough on and work even harder and put even more time into completing the work. The study pitched employees into three groups:
– The Reflection group spent the last 15 minutes of the day writing and reflecting on the lessons learned
– The Sharing group also spent 15 minutes writing and reflecting and then spent 5 minutes sharing their notes with others
– The Control group did not spend any reflection time and continued to work until the end of the day
The results demonstrated that those in the Reflection and Sharing Groups performed significantly better than those in the Control group. Over one month, the Reflection group on average increased performance on the final test by 22.8% more than the Control group and the Sharing group performed 25% better. This was despite those in the Control group spending those 15 minutes at the end of the day working.
the impact of self-reflection on problem-solving
Another study by Harvard Business School looked into the impact of reflection on problem-solving through adults completing an online set of ‘brain teaser puzzles’. The participants were also split into three groups of Reflection, Sharing and Control. Those who were in the Reflection and Sharing Groups spent time reflecting on the first-round of puzzles and wrote notes on their strategies and those in the Sharing Group also received a message saying their notes would be shared with future participants. The participants in these two groups performed 18% better on the second-round of puzzles than the Control Group.
Self-reflection makes experiences more productive by providing us with the opportunity to stop and realise we ‘can do this’, and in turn, gives us the motivation we need to achieve a goal. Without taking time out to reflect, how else will you realise how far you have progressed? Writing down your reflections also has huge benefits because it organises our hectic minds and enables us to “pin down significant thoughts, track patterns, increase mindfulness and gain greater self-knowledge and insight” as Janet Choi writes in ‘iDoneThis’ Blog.
Implementing any new habit is not easy… Making self-reflection one of your new daily habits requires a series of changes as well as your energy, discipline and time. Many people find it tricky because it requires us to face and endure a condition of mental unrest. However, the research shows just how beneficial it is to take time to reflect on your day or project.