Schedule a daily check-in with yourself

reflection writing

I’ve been experimenting with different ways of tracking my progress at work. All too often it feels like the days just zoom by and I haven’t had a chance to really reflect on what I’ve done. This hampers my ability to see were I need to grow and makes it challenging to share my accomplishments and concerns with my manager.

One thing I’ve been doing is reflecting on my work at the end of each day. I’ve tried a gratitude journal (I ended up writing the same things over and over again); a quick list of the things I did (when I looked back on the lists, I couldn’t actually remember what I was referring to); and a small wins journal (which, like with my gratitude journal, I realized I was writing the same things over and over again). Ironically, my notes lacked focus and were too granular.

So I was happy when I came across this list of questions by entrepreneur Joris Toonders on LinkedIn on questions you should ask yourself everyday (hat tip to 99u for the find!). Here are two that stood out to me:

At the beginning of the day:

What are my challenges today?

Successful people set themselves challenges every day. It’s a way of living. You have to challenge yourself every day, to get the most out of you and become better, faster and smarter. It will make life much more interesting. Set yourself challenges and enjoy the journey.

At the end of the day:

What have I learned today?

To become better, faster and smarter, you have to learn every day. Take a moment every day, to ask yourself what you’ve learned today. It can be everything, as small or as big as you want. If you don’t learn enough, take a critical look at the goals and challenges you set every day. If you learn a lot, life will be much more fun.

Read the other questions on LinkedIn.

What I like about these questions is the continuity of reflecting before I work and after I work; I’m not just plowing through my to-do list during the day and trying to make sense of it before I go home. I also like the emphasis on learning and challenges as I find that when I focus on these things, I see how far I’ve come.

That being said, these questions also forced me to ask myself something else: What exactly do I want to accomplish by tracking what I do each day? Revisiting the answers to this question will also help me figure out the best way to reflect.

Whether you’re job seeking, trying to advance your career, or just want to make sure you’re working on things that matter most, it never hurts to set aside time to think about what you want to do and what you have already done.

Do you check in with yourself each day? How? Share your insights below.

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Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.
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