Execution vs reflection

The trade-off between reflection and execution is difficult to optimize. We have tapped into this during the introduction of this chapter. Reflection helps you become more efficient and effective at the same time. It might help you identify where you need to go next, but also discover flows in your current work processes – which you can subsequently adjust and correct. Improving efficiency through reflection is important. Imagine you reflect for two hours every day on all of your tasks and processes. Imagine, too, that this will make you 1% more efficient. This will make you 38 times more productive (1.01365). As theoretical and far-fetched this example seems, it holds especially true in certain domains, such as coding. If you reflect regularly on making your code more efficient and learn about libraries or algorithms which might save you 1% of work, you’ll soon be exponentially more productive than initially expected. Same is true for your own personal development. You want to apply better productivity tools, better processes and better communication. The following list is by no means exclusive, but gives you a first idea of what you can optimize on a daily basis:

  • Leadership: Can you motivate your employees 1% more? Having the self-control to be a little nicer or the energy to be just a little bit more engaging, and optimizing this on a daily basis, can have a severe impact on your long-term organization growth.
  • Emails: Can you read, cluster and answer your emails just a little bit more efficiently?
  • Calls: Can you make your calls a little bit more effective, e.g. by understanding your conversation partner’s needs quicker or by increasing the likelihood of sales conversions just a tiny bit?
  • Coding: What could you have done today to write the same code, but quicker? Were there any abstract principles you’ve learned and might want to record?
  • Decisions: What got you to your decisions today and could you have gotten there more quickly?

The list of these questions is endless as is the impact of you asking you many of these questions every day. Remember, if you’ll be one percent more productive every day, by the end of the year you’ll have achieved a 38X increase in productivity.

The question remains – when do you execute and when do you reflect? The two important rules of thumb are:

  • You should do both daily. There shouldn’t be a day where you don’t reflect – and there shouldn’t be a working day where you don’t execute.
  • You should reflect at least an hour every day. Especially if you’re a natural executor, this feels horrible. Overcome your urge to execute – and think how you’ll execute more efficiently the next day.

Action Steps

The trade-off between reflection and execution is difficult to optimize. We have tapped into this during the introduction of this chapter. Reflection helps you become more efficient and effective at the same time. It might help you identify where you need to go next, but also discover flows in your current work processes – which you can subsequently adjust and correct. Improving efficiency through reflection is important. Imagine you reflect for two hours every day on all of your tasks and processes. Imagine, too, that this will make you 1% more efficient. This will make you 38 times more productive (1.01365). As theoretical and far-fetched this example seems, it holds especially true in certain domains, such as coding. If you reflect regularly on making your code more efficient and learn about libraries or algorithms which might save you 1% of work, you’ll soon be exponentially more productive than initially expected. Same is true for your own personal development. You want to apply better productivity tools, better processes and better communication. The following list is by no means exclusive, but gives you a first idea of what you can optimize on a daily basis:

  • Leadership: Can you motivate your employees 1% more? Having the self-control to be a little nicer or the energy to be just a little bit more engaging, and optimizing this on a daily basis, can have a severe impact on your long-term organization growth.
  • Emails: Can you read, cluster and answer your emails just a little bit more efficiently?
  • Calls: Can you make your calls a little bit more effective, e.g. by understanding your conversation partner’s needs quicker or by increasing the likelihood of sales conversions just a tiny bit?
  • Coding: What could you have done today to write the same code, but quicker? Were there any abstract principles you’ve learned and might want to record?
  • Decisions: What got you to your decisions today and could you have gotten there more quickly?

The list of these questions is endless as is the impact of you asking you many of these questions every day. Remember, if you’ll be one percent more productive every day, by the end of the year you’ll have achieved a 38X increase in productivity.

The question remains – when do you execute and when do you reflect? The two important rules of thumb are:

  • You should do both daily. There shouldn’t be a day where you don’t reflect – and there shouldn’t be a working day where you don’t execute.
  • You should reflect at least an hour every day. Especially if you’re a natural executor, this feels horrible. Overcome your urge to execute – and think how you’ll execute more efficiently the next day.

Action Steps

There are no action steps for this chapter. The next chapter ‘time tracking’ entails all important action steps.