Reflection is vital to our growth but yet so many neglects to take time daily, weekly, or even monthly to reflect. Reflection, by definition, is giving something serious thought or consideration.
Best ways to build reflection into your routine regularly:
Take time at the end of each activity whether it is a phone call, training session, workshop or consultation and review your results. Did you achieve the desired outcome you wanted? What went right? How could you improve before next time?
Schedule your reflection in your calendar or planner for the entire year.
Schedule these amounts of time to dedicate toward reflection:
- 10 minutes at the end of each day
- 30 minutes at the end of each week
- 1 hour at the end of each month for reflection
- ½-1 day at the end of each quarter
- 2 days at the end of each year for reflection, evaluation, and strategic planning
Decide on a regular place or venue to dedicate to focused reflection, planning, and strategizing such as a coffee shop, bookstore, library, or even your office (free from interruptions).
During each reflection ask yourself “How can I work smarter, and not harder?”
Is there something that can be automated, eliminated, delegated, or done more efficiently?
Use this time to review your goals and reflect on the activities you put in towards your goals. Did you take steps toward achieving your dream? Did you do too much “busy work” and not enough “results-focused work?”
Reflection is not about being hard on yourself or criticizing your efforts. It’s about simplifying your work, reducing stress, clearing away things to make room for better things like family, play, and growth.
Ask yourself “was I present in the moment?” Was I mindful to the activity that was going on or was I passive and tuned out?
During this time, you will be creating your rough draft of your action plan for the upcoming days. This is where you will come up with a plan to take the next steps forward towards achieving your goals, which brings us to planning below.
There are so many aspects that go into planning. I am going to list them all out here with a short description of each and how they work best to achieve the best results possible from your planning.
The first step in planning is essentially the same as reflection, you have to start doing it regularly by scheduling it in at regular intervals.
Schedule these amounts of time to dedicate toward planning:
- 10 minutes at the beginning of each day
- 30 minutes at the beginning of each week
- 1 hour at the beginning of each month
- ½-1 day at the beginning of each quarter
- 2 days at the beginning of each year for strategic planning
Your second step is to figure out where you spend your time. The best way to do this is to keep a very detailed time log for 7 consecutive days. I create a table Monday-Sunday broken into 30-minute intervals and I print this out and carry with me. For the week of time-logging, I set a reminder on my phone every hour, on the hour, to fill in my time log. If this is done thoroughly, you can look back at the end of the week add up the total time you spent doing everything. This will allow you to see where your time goes and find ways to either create more time by eliminating time wasters, learn to work more efficiently by upgrading your skills or rearranging your schedule to be more efficient.
Your next step is to create a “brain dump.” This is one of my favorite exercises to do when I am feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or my workload is demanding. I sit down with a notepad and pen. I collect all my random to-do lists from my email, phone, task lists, etc. and start compiling them into one big list. I trash all the other lists. Then I close my eyes and REFLECT on anything else that I might have missed, things that came up the past days, weeks, month’s, things that are coming up in the future, and any thoughts that race through my mind. Everything goes on this list from personal, business, school, family, etc.
Then I begin to categorize it and break it down. I get a bunch of different colored highlighters and give everything a different color. I highlight everything that is considered an “errand” in one color and I highlight all the phone calls in another color. Then I highlight all the computer/internet work that needs to be done, business tasks together, family/home/kids tasks together, and I continue until I have all the related tasks batched together. Then I tackle what’s called “my quick wins.” These are the tasks that I can accomplish in 10 minutes or less which is usually like phone calls, and some tidying up, etc. Then I take each category that remains and break it down again. This time I use
These are the tasks that I can accomplish in 10 minutes or less which is usually like phone calls, and some tidying up, etc. Then I take each category that remains and break it down again. This time I use the quadrant system. I will draw lines down and across a sheet of paper until I have 4 quadrants on my paper. Quadrant 1 is considered critical emergency tasks, quadrant 2 is considered the most beneficial tasks that bring you closer to achieving your goals, Quadrant 3 is considered deceptive tasks which are not important but sometimes we think they are, and Quadrant 4 is considered wasteful tasks.
Let’s take “business work” for example.
Let’s say I have highlighted 6 tasks that are related to “business work:”
- Train Interns
- Update workout board in gym
- Move debris’ from behind gym in back lot
- Audit staff CPR cards
- Conduct Quarterly Appraisals of team
My Quadrants might look like this:
|Critical Emergency Tasks: |
Audit staff CPR cards
Conduct Quarterly Appraisals of team
|Important Growth Tasks: |
|Deceptive Delegation Tasks: |
Clean inventory closet
Update workout board in gym
|Wasteful Tasks: |
Move debris’ from behind gym in back lot
By using the quadrant method and categorizing each task into the appropriate area I can easily see what to prioritize. Obviously, current CPR cards on file at a facility is a critical task, along with updated appraisals as this could affect staff pay. Next, I would focus on training our new interns properly as this is the future of our company and would aid in the growth of our mission. The deceptive tasks would be the “busy work” like clean up an inventory closet or update a workout board in the gym but realistically anyone on the team could do these tasks and they need to be delegated because it is not the most valuable use of my time. Lastly is the wasteful task like moving debris from behind the gym. If it’s behind the gym, it’s not affecting our appearance, and I would rather have my staff focusing on generating new clients and building value for our current ones instead of hauling off old debris.
If we use this method on everything moving forward we can easily create a task list of the critical and important things to focus our time on. There is saying that 20 percent of our tasks bring us 80 percent of our results. Using a brain dump and quadrant method can help you find those 20 percent to time-box in your planning.
Next, you will want to decide on if you use a planner, a calendar online, or some sort of planning device. I actually use the “passion planner,” a google calendar, and an excel to outline my goals and values. Once you have decided then you need to take the steps below in order to set up your schedule.
Get up Early-Success never comes to those who always sleep in. The early bird gets all the worms in our world!
Fill in all your concrete appointments in your schedule. This includes medical, family, events, meetings, sessions, classes, calls, and anything else that is a set appointment.
Then fill in all your necessary tasks like drop kids at school, pick up kids, church, etc.
Then you can see the remaining time you have for “time-boxing.” Time boxing is blocking out time to do all the other things we want or needs to do such as workout, errands, meal prepping, family night, date night, marketing, business management, personal development, etc.
You should also always have “back up anytime tasks” and this could be a simple list or some things that you can do anywhere, anytime while you are waiting. For example, waiting at the doctor office, stuck in traffic, waiting in line to check out, etc. These are the small things that you don’t block time for like: clean out emails, send follow responses, re-share marketing on social media, check social media, listen to podcast or audiobooks, read personal development blogs or e-newsletters, etc.
You also need to learn to be flexible, create buffers, always plan to be early, and never on-time (or you’ll be late). Build in buffers into your schedule as a lot of times things run over. A 30-minute consult turns into an hour or a 1-hour doctor appointment turns into 3 hours. If you build in realistic buffers and plan for worst case scenarios you are allowing yourself plenty of time for the event and therefore if you finish early, you just opened up another time block!
When finishing your scheduling be keen to the times you are the most productive and learn to schedule the most demanding tasks at that time. For example, if you need to write 3 blog articles, and you are aware that you are the most alert at 10 am, then block out time to write at 10 am instead of at 2 pm when you usually crash. Also, learn to set yourself a time limit and stick to it. I find using a timer on my phone is really helpful. If I need to get all 3 blog articles completed in 2 hours, then I set the timer and get to work. I have found that by having a reminder of how much time I have left, I am more inclined to stay focused and efficient than if I had just sat down and started writing with no deadline in sight. If the 2 hours is gone and I am not finished then I stop, save my work, and move on to my next time-box task.
There is so much benefit to learning and implementing planning and reflection into our daily lives, that it is priceless. I have found that if I do this in every area of my life, it has become much more rewarding. I am more aware and engaged with my family. We have planned more “memory building moments.” My business and career have sky-rocketed simply by using regular planning and reflection to catapult our growth. I encourage you to begin asap and see the transformation your life can have.
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● Associates Degree, May 2005, Temple College, Temple, TX
● Bachelor's Degree in Sports Management, Presidential Scholar
● Graduated Magna Cum Laude, May 2011, California University of Pennsylvania, PA
● Master’s Degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotion, July 2012, California University of Pennsylvania, PA
● Doctor of Integrative Health Care, Concentration in Clinical Nutrition, Huntington College of Health Sciences (2016-2018)
● Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, Oct. 2007 International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
● Certified Personal Trainer, May 2008 National Academy Sport Medicine (NASM)
● Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, April 2010 National Academy Sport Medicine (NASM)
● Total Body Suspension Training Certified (TRX), April 2010 Fitness Anywhere
● Kettle Bell Instructor Certified, 2011 Kettle bell Concepts
● Certified Personal Trainer, February 2012 Smart Fitness International
● Certified Specialist in Speed and Explosion for Sports Competition, National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE), March 2012
● CPR/AED/ First Aid Instructor Certification-Instructor Certification certifies in all 50 States-April 2012-current
● Certified in Bodybuilding Contest Prep, International Academy of Physique Conditioning (IAPC), Jan 2014
● Fit tour Certified Kickbox Instructor, Certified Yoga and Pilates Instructor Jan 2015
I started in fitness as a way to find a healthy lifestyle for myself. I was always an athlete in high school and college. However, after a year of college, I quickly found myself involved with the wrong crowd and in the wrong relationships. I saw my life slipping away from me and my health suffering greatly as a result. I come from a family that is the polar opposite of my current lifestyle, and I saw myself beginning to follow these footsteps. I knew I did not want that for myself or my daughter’s future. I knew I had to change for the better. Growing up and seeing so many people suffer from self-inflicted, self-destructive habits that have caused them and their families great turmoil and physical stress, I envisioned a different way of life. I determined to do better and become better. With that motivation, I cleaned up my act, left everything behind, moved out of state, started back in school. Became a certified trainer and never looked back. Years later I have put myself through graduate school, earned Presidential Scholar and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Currently, I possess a variety of certifications and will continue to educate myself forever. I am currently working on my doctorate degree and I am excited to bring these tools I learn to our facility, staff, members, clients, and future patients. I have learned that there is nothing you cannot accomplish if you put your mind to it and put in the hard work. Success will come if you will work hard and never give up. The only way you won't accomplish your goal is if you quit. It's that simple. Join us at BEFIT, where we are not just a "gym" and we don't just "train" people. We are lifestyle coach's, lifestyle mentors, and we can help you develop yourself to your optimal physical capacity through self-empowerment, education, and lifestyle changes!
Latest posts by Ashlee Nejtek
- The Importance of Reflection and Planning as a Fitness Professional - April 5, 2017
- Managing everything within the 4 walls of your facility - December 10, 2016
- How to Retain Your Clients (The ones you want!) For Years - November 4, 2016