How quiet reflection leads to more effective action

Grace had a relentless schedule of back-to-back meetings and video calls. There was no time in her day for reflection, where she could think about the future. Her work came at her like the machine that fires tennis balls at players on the practice court. In this case however, there was no way to switch it off. She felt out of control as she responded to everything coming at her. This feeling of being overwhelmed permeated every area of her life, including her health, finances and relationships, and of course, her professional success. 

In her coaching program, Grace realised the first step to freeing up her time was to move more of the ‘doing’ activity she had on her plate to her team members. At first she worried about how they would react because they were also busy. But she was pleasantly surprised to find they relished the opportunity to step up their own leadership. Her next step was to develop a new practice of carving out time for reflection in her schedule. That new habit gave her time to plan, so she only put things in her calendar that forwarded her objectives. It also meant saying no to requests for time in her calendar that did not need her personal attention.

Grace found this practice of reflection put her in the driver’s seat. She was taking things in the direction she wanted to go instead of responding to everyone else’s agenda.  

In their HBR article, “How to Regain the Lost Art of Reflection,” Martin Reeves, Roselinde Torres and Fabien Hassan report that Jeff Weiner, Executive Chairman at LinkedIn, blocks between 90 minutes and two hours every day for reflection and describes those buffers as “the single most important productivity tool.”

Here are some helpful practices from the article. 

✴️ Schedule unstructured thinking time.

✴️ Get a coach. 

✴️ Cultivate a list of questions that prompt reflective thought.

✴️ Protect yourself and your organisation from information overload.

✴️ Reimagine yourself as a meta-problem solver.

✴️ Be a role model for your employees.

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

Peter Drucker

🙋 How does quiet reflection lead to more effective action in your experience? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian