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Tips for carving out reflection time

Leaders and aspiring leaders are often too busy to take time for themselves - time to reflect, think ahead, plan for meetings and 1-2-1s or for their own personal development.

This reflection time is vital for leaders for a number of reasons:

1. To gain self-awareness: Reflection allows leaders to gain self-awareness by identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and values. This awareness means you understand yourself better, you can lead with greater authenticity and purpose.

2. Improve decision-making: Reflection allows you to analyse past decisions and identify what worked and what didn't. This can help you make better decisions in the future.

3. Develop strategic thinking: Reflecting allows you to think strategically about your goals and priorities. This can help you align your actions and decisions with yours or the company’s long-term vision.

4. Tap into creativity: Space for thinking allows you to get creative by generating new ideas and solutions. When you take the time to reflect, you can think more deeply and creatively about challenges and opportunities.

5. Enhance emotional intelligence: You can develop your emotional intelligence by checking in with your emotions and responses to various situations. This can help you manage your own emotions and learn to self-regulate.

Finding time to reflect can be challenging, especially when you are busy, challenged and are managing other people. Here are some ideas on how you can prioritise time to reflect:

1. Schedule the time: Just as you schedule time for other important tasks, schedule time for reflection in your calendar - and mean it. It could be a few minutes each day or a longer block of time once a week. Treat it as you would any other commitment.

2. Make it a habit: Build reflection into your daily routine. For example, you could reflect on your day before you open your laptop or at the end of the day. Over time, it will become a natural habit that you look forward to.

3. Unplug: Disconnect from distractions during your reflection time. Find a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts.

4. Be a role model: When you start to see reflection time as valuable and productive, you’ll be keen to share this with others. Be a role model for those you work with and create opportunities for them to reflect in their day too.

5. Plan your reflection time: Before sitting down to reflect, consider what it is you want to reflect on - this could be professional development, a specific event situation or planning for an upcoming meeting. Having this set out in advance will ensure you get the most out of your designated time.

6. Find an accountability partner: Create a reflection culture - making this the norm at work will make it easier to do it. Even better, find someone who can act as your accountability partner and check in on each other or share your thoughts and insights.

Reflection is an important tool for personal growth and development, and finding time for it is a worthy investment in yourself (and for your team). By making reflection a priority and building it into your routine, you can gain valuable insights and learn more about yourself and your goals.

How can coaching help? Coaching provides leaders with that 1-2-1 reflection time; it's ring-fenced time where you are guaranteed to reflect, process and think. You also have your accountability partner right there - a coach will provide that accountability and check in on how you're getting on between sessions.

If you'd like to know more, get in touch.


Gemma Brown is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) accredited with the International Coach Federation (ICF). She works with individuals and teams thrive by helping them to elevate their authenticity, purpose and direction. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.

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