Be More Productive – The Power of Pausing and Personal Reflection

The power of pausing and personal reflection is vital for becoming more productive.

According to John Maxwell, learning to pause and reflect allows growth to catch up with you. During the year of the Great Depression, in 1929, Coca-cola coined the marketing phrase, The Pause that Refreshes.  Ironically, around fifteen million people lost their jobs during the depression, and their employers gave them plenty of time for pause and reflection. It is unfortunate that very few companies give their employees time for reflection. With competitive pressures, overworked employees are often feeling pressure to keep pressing forward to make their goals. There is however new research that demonstrates the value of reflection. The power of pausing and reflecting helps people do better work. Harvard Business School and the University of North Carolina collaborated on a research paper and a series of studies, all showing that reflection boosts performance.

We all need time for reflecting, refreshing, and recharging!

For me, with my ready fire aim mentality, and fast paced life, taking the time to pause and reflect is challenging. However, pausing has become an essential part of my day, each week, month, quarter and year. The first step to reflecting is to find a place to do it, and then schedule the time. You can even build reflecting time into something you’re already doing each day, like a walk or run. But it is important to write it down or journal if possible, especially during your monthly, quarterly and yearly times. John Maxwell outlines how to reflect by using your “I’s” when taking the time to pause, in his 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, describes the benefits of personal reflection with four I’s.

  1. Investigation – Pausing is about finding meaning in each experience
  2. Incubation – Like Crock-Pot cooking, incubation allows experiences and thoughts to grow to their full potential
  3. Illumination – The process of placing value on your experience and performance.
  4. Illustration – The process of expanding your experiences into teachable lessons.

In John Maxwell’s book, How Successful People Think he has a chapter on reflective thinking and states five reasons why it’s so important to do it;

Reflective thinking gives you real perspective
Reflective thinking gives you emotional integrity to your thought life
Reflective thinking increases your confidence in decision-making
Reflective thinking clarifies the big picture
Reflective thinking takes a good experience and makes it a valuable experience
Grab a journal or notebook and start reflective thinking. Your future success might depend on it.

To grow yourself, you must know yourself. John has ten Personal Awareness Questions to ask yourself;

What is my biggest asset?
What is my biggest liability?
What is my highest high?
What is my lowest low?
What is my most worthwhile emotion?
What is my least worthwhile emotion?
What is my best habit?
What is my worst habit?
What is most fulfilling to me?
What is my most prized possession?

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” ~ Peter F. Drucker

Everyone looks, observes and spectates but few are seeing and perceiving. Become intentional about pausing and reflecting to allow what we learn to become a useful experience. Take some time before the end of this year to reflect and build a better future in 2017.

I teach a course on John Maxwell’s 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  The Law of Reflection is #4.  If you’d like me to provide a proposal for your group or team please contact me.

About the Author Mark Petticord

I am a sales and marketing consultant, trainer, writer and new media professional. With twenty-five years in the sales and marketing industry, I've had the privilege of training and supporting hundreds of micro entrepreneurs and business executives.

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