During the day we can get caught up with the hustle and bustle of activity. Try adding a reminder in your phone to check in with yourself. It could be just a moment that you focus on the breath, or even just look away from the computer. If you really want to take the check in a step further, use it as an excuse to take a lap around the office, get some hot tea and breathe for a moment. There are plenty of applications out there that you can install on your computer to remind you to look away every 15 minutes, or get out of your chair every hour. Or, if there’s a regular sound in your office, say, the doorbell, use that as a reminder to take a deep breath and check in with how things are going.
Okay, I’m still on a New Years stint, and will remain until my gym stops their New Years Resolution sales. I mean, c’mon, we don’t all really want to take a class called “AirBarre” do we? I do. Oh my goodness I do, please stop filling up. On the subject of resolutions, one friend disclosed, “I have the same resolution every year! Lose 5 pounds!”, and another explained he never makes resolutions in order to constantly evolve rather than working on an annual basis. I’ve written about reflection and personal check-ins but figured this is a great time to do it again.
New Years is a great time for people to sit down, reflect on the past year, and consider what they’d like to look for in the following year. Your company might do the same thing every December or March with your performance. Unfortunately, both are lacking in substance. As Serial quickly taught us, we can’t recall what we did a while ago, so how can you ask me after 365 days what I did on day 32 that makes me a great person or employee?
As much as we want consistent check-ins with our employer to not only receive feedback but also align on our personal goals, we should be doing this ourselves for our personal lives.
Here are some nice steps to take to get yourself on a schedule to constantly reflect:
- When you wake up in the morning, take a moment before turning to your smartphone to check instagram and remind yourself, Hey, I’m alive. So cool! What should I do today? Think about how you want to enter today.
- Try writing down some goals in the morning before work, they can be simple, like only having one cup of coffee today, or as complex as snagging that deal you’ve been pushing for
- When you get to work, read through your to-do list. If you don’t have one, make one! Crossing things off are great. I have two to-do lists side-by-side, Work and Personal so during my downtime or lunch break I can take a moment and grab that baby gift. Giraffe stuffed animals for everyone!
- Take a look at your day – is it crazy? When can you take breaks? What do you need to prepare for, and what should you move to a different day? Reevaluate your to-do list.
- At the end of the work day, right down three things you did. Every day. They can be work related, or non, just write it down.
- At the end of the week, reflect. How did this week go? What could have been better and what action can you take to improve it?
- At the end of the month, look back. Check out that notebook you kept of things you accomplished, take a look at the upcoming months.
- At the end of the quarter, take a moment to breathe. You did so much these past few months. Take time to honor the work you’ve done – at your job and on yourself. Maybe you wanted to bring brown bag lunch two times a week. Maybe you wanted to be nicer to yourself. Maybe you wanted to really deliver on a project. Any way you slice it, you’ve put some time in. If you aren’t feeling so great about what you’ve done, that’s okay. Read through your past and think about how you can evolve for the next few months.
- At the end of the year (feel free to follow the school schedule of a September start), this is a nice moment to look at how much you’ve accomplished. Maybe you switched jobs, moved homes, made new friends or learned how to cook a new complicated dish. As you prepare for the next year, realize that some goals are small and could be a two-day thing, and some are long-term. You can create goals at any moment in your year/quarter/month/week/day, and they can be tiny or huge. You can get rid of goals anytime if they are no longer of use to your growth as a person. What’s important is taking the time to look at yourself, what you’ve done, and consider who you’d like to be and what you’d like to do.
Okay. Enough. Enough of this resolution talk! I think everything I outlined above is actually really hard to do. I falter often trying to take notes every day, or sit with my thoughts for too long, but, I do know that my mathematical mind would seriously dig getting my hands on some personal data. So, while we start 2015 (and I get into those gosh darn AirBarre classes so I can hang upside down and cocoon myself) it makes sense to remind me (and I guess you, too) that at any point this year we can hit a little reset button and check-in.