Why Is Taking Time To Reflect Important? (4 Great Reasons) 

A woman takes time to reflect by looking out on a body of water

Life can be chaotic. Many of us feel like we are constantly struggling to juggle all our responsibilities at once. With the rise of the internet and social media, we constantly are bombarded with new information from every direction—every single day. Time passes by us so quickly, and often it can feel like we blink, and an entire year has passed. 

But when was the last time that you took a moment to reflect on your life? 

By missing out on doing some inner reflection, we could be passing by opportunities to learn, grow, and become happier and more productive.  

But what does taking time to reflect even mean? And why is it so important? 

Below we will take a look into the meaning of taking time to reflect, the benefits to taking time to reflect, and some simple ways to accomplish it. 

What does taking time to reflect mean? 

When we reflect on something we take a moment to look back and evaluate what happened. We ask ourselves questions, like what went well, and what needs improvement, or if given the chance what would we do differently next time?  

By taking time to reflect, we review our actions and reactions, and we learn something that we can apply in the future

Why should we take time to reflect? 

1) We become more productive 

There was a study done that showed that employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about what they had learned performed 23% better, after 10 days, than those who did not reflect.

Another study of people commuting to work found that people that used their commute to reflect and plan for their day were happier, more productive, and less burned out than the people who didn’t.

2) Reflecting helps us learn and grow 

When we reflect, we develop our skills and review how effective they are instead of just forging blindly ahead. When we question what we are doing and why we are doing it, we can decide if we can improve in the future.  

When we are aware of our behavior and choices, we are able to change it. 

3) We will make less mistakes 

Life is all about having new experiences. Many times we need to rely on trial and error to discover the best way to handle a new situation. When we reflect, we can better understand new challenges and evaluate the new solutions we have invented.  

By reflecting we avoid making the same mistakes twice and are better prepared to deal with something similar in the future. 

4) We are more observant 

Knowing that we are going to be reflecting on something later, can actually help us to increase focus, and to become more aware of what is happening around us. 

So if taking time to reflect is so important, why don’t more people do it? 

1) They are avoiding pain 

Reflecting requires us to do several things that most people would prefer not to do. We are required to look back at the best, but also some of the worst times of our lives. We are required to examine our own actions and admit to our mistakes as well.

This can cause us some discomfort, and we might even become upset. It is natural to want to avoid that, but it is necessary pain.

It is natural to want to avoid the negative, however without the negative sometimes we can’t grow. 

2) They don’t know how 

Most people, including myself, were never taught how to reflect with any real intention. Reminiscing about the past, and reflection are not the same thing.

3) They are perfectionists 

I still struggle with perfectionism sometimes, so at first reflection was difficult for me because I didn’t want to think about my past mistakes or acknowledge any bad or painful times in my life.  

However, I didn’t realize that reflecting actually helps us make less mistakes in the future. 

How to take time to reflect 

1) Select the way you would like to reflect 

There are many different ways for you to reflect including: 

  • Journaling
  • Filling out a reflection workbook or guide
  • Answering thought provoking questions
  • Interviewing yourself
  • Getting interviewed by someone else

You can write your reflections down to help make sense of your thoughts, or if writing is not your thing you can simply think about what you are reflecting on, or even have someone else interview you. 

2) Find the right time 

By scheduling time to reflect, you make it harder to avoid, and if you are able to include it in a routine and work it into your schedule you will see the most benefit from it. 

You could reflect when you travel to work, when you exercise or while doing the dishes. Whatever works the best for you. 

3) Start small 

You don’t have to schedule out an entire day to spend time in deep reflection. You might require some extra time in the beginning if you have never done any deep reflection before, but after that you should only need to reflect every so often.

4) Ask for help if you need it 

It can be difficult to keep yourself honest and accountable at times. An accountability partner to keep you motivated could be a great idea.

Or you could find someone to ask you questions if you don’t feel like writing.

A therapist is a great resource for reflection as well.

What are some examples of questions to help us reflect?

  1. What am I avoiding? 
  2. What are my strengths? 
  3. What are my weaknesses?  
  4. What problems might be negatively effecting me? 
  5. What makes me happy? 
  6. What have I been doing in the past that might help that I am not doing now? 
  7. What is one thing I could do differently next time to improve? 
  8. What more do I need to do to achieve my goals?

 

By taking time out of your day to reflect, you will be able to improve and grow. 

You might be surprised by how quickly something simple, like using reflection, can change your life for the better.  

Do you have any other tips for taking time to reflect that I may have missed? 

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