Imagine a scenario: it is Friday, the working week is about to end, you take one last look at status report to see if all done items are moved to progress. You are anxious to finish it as quickly as possible to start the weekend.
Seems like a pretty typical Friday evening. But did you know that taking just a few minutes to reflect on the week, could enhance your performance by 18%?
According to Harvard Business School research you need to take few minutes to think about what you have learned in order to enhance your learning. Based on the research the participants that did an arithmetic brain-teaser and then reflected on their strategies for solving it went to do 18% better in a second round compared to their peers, who did not take time to reflect. This suggests that unconscious learning could become more effective when coupled with conscious attempts to learn by thinking.
Although this practice of reflecting yields for great results, it is common for managers and employees to skip it and move on to the next task straightaway. It is easy to get caught up with the increasing pile of work to be done. But keep in mind that one way to improve job performance is to reflect on your work. We have talked about increasing focus and productivity via journaling and how online tools like Weekdone can help out with the reflection process, but in addition to this you also need to ask the right questions.
To claim these 18% and enhance your learning, ask yourself:
1. What was the one successful task that I finished this week?
When using Weekdone, go to the progress part of your report and really analyze the tasks that are written there. Figure out, which item makes you most proud and why. Is it a project that got the most attention or is it a task that was long overdue? Go deep and try to see how this success is aligned with the personal and team objectives. If possible, replicate the behavioral pattern that brought you success to upcoming weeks.
2. What was the one task that caused the biggest headache?
Having started from the positive side, it is time to deal with the problems. Switch on to the problems or challenges section. What is the one task that you are stuck with? It is probably something that takes a lot of time and attention but brings no results. Where does the frustration come from? Is this task even important in the bigger picture? Perhaps it is something that could be delegated?
3. Are my everyday tasks aligned with my own and company objectives?
It is important to look over the objectives weekly and see the connection between achievements and goals. Checking every e-mail, attending lots of meetings and going through big piles of paper work might make you feel like a busy person, but are all of these activities really necessary? Go through the week step by step and eliminate all distractions that have no relation with the overall goals. Time is valuable and there is no reason to waste it on unimportant tasks.
4. What should be planned for the next week?
Don't postpone planning your week to Monday, do it right after you have finished with reflection. It is a natural course of action. The lessons learned during the week are still on top of your mind, making it the best time for planning the upcoming week. This will also reduce the amount of stress experienced on Mondays, giving a fast start to your week.
Ask these questions each week, preferably after receiving your weekly report. This will give a proper starting point. Look through your done list and dive deep. Don't just look it through, but analyze and reflect on it.