Original Post by Amanda Hughes:
I feel that I incorporate reflection into my writing process every time I write. I use a similar process to how I plan out my day. At the end of each workday, I make a list of the top things I need to accomplish the following day. The next morning, I think about the best approach to ensure I get those things done, then execute to ensure that everyone I am reporting to is pleased with the result.
When writing, I begin my writing by getting all of my thoughts down on paper, and then reflect on those thoughts to decide how they best fit together or if they don’t. I then think about how I want my audience to interpret these thoughts.
I liked the list that Jennifer Porter (2017) uses in her article on how to start reflecting:
Identify Some Important Questions
Select a Reflection Process that Matches Your Preferences
Ask for help
I think the last item is extremely important. I have an accountability partner at work, and we go to each other for so many things. We ask each other to review our writing and emails to make sure the message is being conveyed correctly and appropriately, and we also check in with each other on our personal development goals. Reflection is key to ensuring your growth and success whether it be your writing and communication style or your personal and professional development.
Porter, Jennifer. 2017. “Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even if You Hate Doing it).” Harvard Business Review (March 21). https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-you-should-make-time-for-self-reflection-even-if-you-hate-doing-it.
I appreciate that you’re bringing priority into consideration. I figure folks can get stuck at a halt in reflection because they do not know where to start. Being accustomed to making a list of the top things you’re needing to accomplish the following day is a prompt in itself that makes it so you have a launching pad every time you begin the writing session. If the initial reflection at the end of each workday did not take place, it would be difficult to start the morning one step ahead as you’re now already at the point of thinking about the best approach to ensure things get done. Reflecting at the end of each workday also makes it so there’s less choices to make in the morning. You already decided what is going to get done so that, the next morning, you’re only needing to make choices about how to get the things done. It reminds me of doing a workout. I already decide how much I am going to run before I step onto the treadmill. That way, during the run, I am just figuring out how to get through it instead of determining how far to go. It also reminds me of getting dressed in the morning. It is easier to lay clothes out on top of the dresser the night before. Then, in the morning, it’s only a matter of figuring out how to put them on. Anyways, good idea to draft without judgement at the way beginning so that you can maximize creativity by not interfering with the initial flow of thoughts. I also agree with incorporating how you’re intending for the audience to interpret the thoughts as part of organizing them.
Comment by Amanda Hughes:
Thanks Mary! I do the same things…I pick out my clothes the night before so that I have one less thought or decision to make in the morning, partially because I am half awake before the drive in lol. Prioritization to me is super important though, because it keeps me organized, and I am a very OCD organized person. My house may not be spotless, but I can tell you where everything is located.
You mentioned working out, so I am curious, do you ever reflect when you workout? We have astationary bike here at home, and I like to use that time to reflect on my thoughts and ideas, and have done this many times throughout grad school. Giving myself something to do that doesn’t take a whole lot of thought and effort allows my brain to relax and open up.
Comment by Keith Hay:
That was an interesting question. While I rarely reflect on the process of my work, I have spent the last two years keeping a journal of my exercise. Over time, that has grown to include notes about how I feel when I start, if I have any injuries, and other things that may factor into the workout. I also use my time running to think about large writing projects. As I run, I stop thinking about running and eventually drift in a space where the writing starts to develop. Finally, I am starting to keep a to-do list for work tasks but am still in a phase where I feel like I am experimenting with that.
Comment by Amanda Hughes:
If you could only see my outlook calendar for work, and my weekly planner that I keep for school, work, and personal life you would probably think I am a nutcase! My outlook calendar is color-coded based on topic so I know what I am going to and from throughout the day, and my planner (Links to an external site.) has a daily to-do list so that I can prioritize the top 5 or 10 things that I need to get checked off.