While reflection might not seem like a relevant topic for my Time Management for Leaders series, stay with me for a moment!
One of the ways in which leaders often lose time, or get sidetracked, is when everything is done at the last-minute, forcing you to make split-second decisions. Some of these decisions end up being the wrong ones, which then causes a leader to have to backtrack, apologize, fix problems, or spin their wheels.
When we take time to pause and reflect, we give ourselves time in the future. A simple dictionary definition of reflection is “serious thought or consideration”. I know that when I take the time to thoughtfully consider something now, it saves me time (in mistakes, errors in judgment, or just feeling rushed) later.
In a not-work-specific example, I am currently reflecting on what my word for 2018 might be. Each year around this time, I begin a journaling activity designed to help me select a word that will represent the coming year. Knowing that this word will be a focus for 365 days, I take the process seriously and I don’t rush to pick the first word that comes to mind. For anyone interested in this task, I use the materials created and provide by Susannah Conway. I want to select a word that will help provide me direction both personally and professionally. My previous words have been:
- 2015- Mindfulness
- 2016- Rejuvenate
- 2017- Challenge
Bringing us back to the topic of Time Management for Leaders, I encourage leaders to practice this important phrase:
I’m going to have to think about that and get back to you.
This is something I learned to say as a Principal, when it felt like people were constantly coming to you, expecting immediate decisions, about 150 times a day. Some decisions are easy and can be made in the moment. Other decisions should never be made without serious thought and consideration. A leader needs to distinguish between the two, and learn to take time for reflection when it matters.
For more thoughts on how leaders can built-in reflection as a habit, from A to Z, feel free to visit my Abecedary of Reflection. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about reflection in the comments. And stay tuned for what my word of 2018 will be!
Time Management for Leaders Series