“Happy Friday!” has become a standard greeting each week as the weekend approaches. We collectively celebrate the fact that we’ve survived another working week, and have earned the rest and relaxation which the weekend (hopefully) brings us.
On this Friday, however, instead of hitting the couch when you get home, or heading right out for the night, I challenge you to first take a moment to actively reflect on your week. A recent article in Harvard Business Review cites a study which notes, “Employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lesson learned performed 23% better after [just] 10 days than those who who did not reflect.”
When we find ourselves non-stop multitasking all day, it may seem like an insurmountable task to slow down and reflect, even if we know it will make us more effective. More deeply, we often create mental roadblocks to such a practice. We spend most of our week serving others, whether it’s managers, teams, shareholders, family members, etc., and we often put ourselves last.
Before you write off the below exercise, ask yourself: Who is really going to make sure that you are operating at your highest capacity and feeling good, if you do not first check in with yourself?
So, this evening, take just three minutes to ponder the following questions. I highly recommend writing them on paper instead of typing, because even just pausing to physically write helps you move into a mindful state.
- How did I operate this week?
- Was I true to my thoughts, actions and deeds?
- Did I conduct myself in a way that I’m proud of?
- Where do I need more nourishment and how can I make time for it this weekend, this time of rest?
I hope you enjoy giving your brain the experience of time and space to pause, unwind, observe and go inward. Just as Leonardo da Vinci intuitively said, “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”