There is no moving forward without looking back. Reflection is a practice that I have always embedded in my time in education, and I am finding it just as valuable in writing. It is a powerful tool and it has to be used effectively, mindfully, and not sporadically.
We need to find ways to embed reflection into our practice. It should be a factor in every project, every interaction, and planned as part of the overall work. And it doesn’t have to always be formalized. In fact, reflection needs to be small, and unassuming so that we participate more fully in it. Finishing an email to a client with ‘thoughts?’ or ‘feedback?’ at least signals that you are open to reflection.
If we are not focused on this task, we have no way to move forward. Looking back gives us a unique perspective on the work that we have accomplished, our efficiencies, and our next steps. We can’t wait and bundle those opportunities once or twice a year. It has to be done consistently, small nudges that guide us towards better practice. We need to understand that we are always learning how to do things better, how to improve. It is both frustrating and inspirational to think that we will never be at our best because we should always be getter better.
There is intrinsic value in this rumination. In terms of mindfulness and mental health, reflection allows us to slow down those chaotic days, put them into perspective, and make changes towards better outcomes. In regards to practice, micro-adjustments are easier to deal with than full-out autopsies, days of planning and re-working and piecing together what went well and what went wrong.
Reflect on the past to understand the present and plan for a better future.