Developing a New Reflection Habit

Posted in: EngD

Earlier this week, I came across an interesting blog called Mission to Learn, written by Jeff Cobb. I started off by searching for ways to become better at listening and found a post in which Jeff describes an experiment, the findings of which suggest that resting for 10 minutes after taking in new information can improve how much can be remembered. I liked Jeff's content, and so I continued reading around the site. I eventually clicked through to this post:

5 Powerful Reasons to Make Reflection a Daily Habit – and How to Do It

The post inspired me to try to develop a daily reflection habit and there's nothing like going public to motivate yourself to succeed! In this post I describe why it is I want to reflect daily, how I will go about it, and what I hope to achieve.

Why do I want to reflect?

As a doctoral student, I am asked to review my project at 6-monthly intervals and I just completed my "24-month review". I have always seen the benefits of reflecting about my work when I do this, but I have never made reflection a habit. Acknowledging this and reading Jeff's post, I want to try and reap those benefits more often by reflecting on a daily basis.

How do I plan on doing it?

One of Jeff's pieces of advice is to reflect at the same time every day. I have decided to start off by simply sitting quietly for 10 minutes every morning before I turn on my computer and reflecting on the previous day's events. From the few times I have tried it this week, I have already noticed that I often want to make a quick note of something that comes to mind. I will allow myself to do this before returning to thinking quietly.

What do I hope to achieve?

I already keep a log of the tasks I get done each day, like in the screenshot below. This helps me feel like I have achieved something during the day, even if it's not been a terribly productive one.

A screenshot of a Google Doc folder with a list of tasks I have completed on a working day.
An example of my weekly notes log.

However, I think that reflecting on how I felt and how things went can add a different perspective. By developing this new habit I hope that I will be able to think more objectively about what happens day-to-day and apply what I learn to new situations.

In a couple of weeks, I will take a look back at this post and have a think about if and how my new daily habit has affected my work.

Life-long learning

If you also want to become a better learner, I recommend you take a look at more posts on Mission to Learn. Let me know how you get on!

Posted in: EngD


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