For the past few months, I've largely been in an iterative explore loop rehashing the possibilities of what I'd like to work on next.
I've been considering a pretty broad range of options, almost too broad. However, this past week felt like an inflection point in terms of getting some separation between ideas worth focusing on vs. those that should probably be put on the back burner.
We're still not out of the woods, but this is definitely progress. One of the process changes that helped contribute to this progress was a simple weekly reflection prompt:
What did you learn this week?
To be clear, a good response to this prompt isn't something tactical like "I learned how to use this new feature in Notion"), but rather something that is meaningful that you don't want to forget or something that might impact your ongoing strategy.
One of the benefits of using Basecamp is that you can easily setup regular email prompts which in turn take care of aggregating responses and putting them in an easy-to-find place:
I started a new ritual a few weeks ago with the prompt coming on Friday mornings, and I've found it to be helpful in creating a time and space to reflect. If you're not deliberate about carving out the time and space, it's unlikely to happen as there's always more work to do, and there've never more things competing for our attention.
What I didn't expect from this exercise is that it often takes up the majority of my Friday. Initially I was worried that this might be a bad investment of time. Maybe this should be a bi-monthly rather than weekly ritual. However, what I've found is that the anticipation of this weekly ritual has made me more efficient and focused during the rest of the week. Because I know it's coming, I'm a bit freer to just focus on being productive, which can often mean stopping or quitting a certain task early on because it's unlikely to improve with another day's effort.
In terms of the overall insights, I try to articulate three separate insights.
What I've found is that the difficulty of this ritual can span a wide range depending upon how the week went. If it's been a productive week, then it's a relatively simple and painless process of curating the top 3 lessons of the week. Otherwise, it may take me most of the day to really think through what I learned that is worthy of capturing. Often, these tend to result in the best insights, because it's clear I needed the time to make a few more mental hops to connect the dots. And thus, you end up with insights that you might have otherwise overlooked because you didn't set aside the time to review and reflect.
I don't know if I'll be able to keep this up if and when the nature of the work becomes more execution oriented, or when there are more people involved, but it will be interesting to see if I can keep it going.