Every day, before leaving the office, save a few minutes to think about what just happened. Look at your calendar and compare what actually happened — the meetings you attended, the work you got done, the conversations you had, the people with whom you interacted, even the breaks you took — with your plan for what you wanted to have happen. Then ask yourself three sets of questions:
- How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges did I endure?
- What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do — differently or the same — tomorrow?
- Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?
This last set of questions is invaluable in terms of maintaining and growing relationships. It takes just a few short minutes to shoot off an email — or three — to share your appreciation for a kindness someone extended, to ask someone a question, or to keep someone in the loop on a project.
I read this on Sunday, and it seemed like a good, quick and effective way to incorporate a regular personal review into my life. On Monday I added a 5 minute task into my work calendar with the subject "Daily Review" and popped these questions in it. I took my 5 minutes both yesterday and today whilst still at my desk, and noted down my successes, my challenges, my learnings, my interactions and the thanking I should do (which I followed up immediately with emails to the relevant people (or their managers)). It seemed like a great way to close my day.
What I'm unsure about though, is where to record my answers. Is there ongoing value to my successes, my challenges, my learnings. Should I be reviewing them in order to monitor my progress through the year? Or are they mainly throw away observations with the learnings building up day by day?
Do any of you do anything like this? And if you do, do you record them for review/posterity? Do you use this as a diary/journal activity hand-writing the answers? Or jot them into a calendar item? Or not even note them down at all, using it just as a mental exercise?