How to reflect on your day | A Complete Guide with Example and Video

As someone who does daily reflections, I am quite surprised to see how some people make it complicated. Instead of having a moment for yourself where you are thinking deeply about your past, present, and future, the ones out there providing numerous questions for you to reflect that will just complicate things. Thus, I have decided to write this blog post to give proper, clear, and most importantly, simple instructions in order for you to start reflecting today.

Reflecting on the day means scheduling a time of the day to carefully consider or to think deeply about your thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is a way to start learning more about your past, your current situation, and your future plans. This is done to give you some preparation for the future or give you some adjustments to grow.

To reflect on your day, you first need to give yourself some time alone in order to reach your deep thoughts. After that, start writing the thoughts gathering around your head. Lastly, start processing this information to give you some perspective on your current situation, past actions, and your future plans.

If you are wondering why am I saying that some people make reflection complicated, my answer is that we are adults and we should be protective of our time. There are lots of things we can do to our time. Spending more than 15 minutes on daily reflection is simply not efficient.

With this blog post, I will show you how you can reflect for just 5 minutes daily and it would feel like you’ve done a 30-minute session of reflection. Here is a video guide where I walk you through the basic concepts on how I personally do reflection.

I am the person on the video teaching proper journaling. This is what I’ve learned through years of trying and testing multiple journaling techniques. Through trial and error, I was able to make my own Journaling Technique that would only take 5 minutes but you get all the best ones from other journaling techniques.

1. Schedule 5–15 Minutes Every Day To Reflect

Now that you’ve got the basics in the introduction, let’s not discuss how to reflect step by step.

The most important here is that you prepare.

“Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”

James Baker

It is important to reflect in a clear state. What I mean is that you are extremely focused on the task you’re going to do.

You will not reach your deep thoughts if you are checking your social media apps while reflecting.

Since you will only be doing reflections, your other things to do will be on hold for a moment. Your work will be postponed for a while during reflections.

That’s why it is important to keep reflections minimal and that’s why I suggest you start with 5 minutes each day.

A small-time to pay for big results.

Even after about 3 years of constant reflections, I am still reflecting on myself daily but only about 5 minutes each day.

Because of the amount of concentration you need to do, you have to properly schedule it. When I was starting out, I was only making plans in my head and I never really did it.

It is important to start giving a few minutes on reflections. It is worth it as you will find out soon that it will help you live life with a clear purpose.

So, do not forget that the first step is to schedule. No need to schedule reflections for more than 15 minutes. I think that daily reflections that are more than 15 minutes are just too long and you can get most of the benefits of self-reflection in just a few minutes.

Furthermore, choose the time of the day when you’ll do it.

You can do it in the morning right after waking up, or in the evening before going to bed.

Choosing which one suits you best is all on you. Furthermore, you can switch it up for example since I am busy today, I’ve only done my reflections about 5 pm before starting to write this blog post.

It doesn’t need to be at the same time each day. The most important thing is to do it every day.

To help you choose, I will give you some information on reflecting in the morning or at night.

  1. Reflecting in the Morning – This is a great time to plan for your day. Furthermore, since it is the first thing you start doing each day, you can easily do this consistently. However, since you’re only starting your day, you will not be able to summarize your whole day.
  2. Reflecting at Night – Helps summarize what you’ve done for today. Great for reflecting on what happened today but you can easily forget doing it especially if you have a lot of work for today.

Of course, you can reflect both in the morning and at night. That way, you get all the benefits of doing it in the morning and at night.

But this depends on your availability. We do not have the same amount of free time.

As a beginner, I suggest only choosing one since what matters the most here is consistency.

If you are wondering why I suggest you reflect once a day, you may check this blog post I’ve made on how often we should reflect. In that blog post, I’ve compared reflecting, daily, weekly, and twice a day. You can find the blog post here: How often should you reflect?

2. Have Something To Write On

The next most important in the preparation phase is to have something to write on.

It doesn’t matter what type of pen, paper, or notebook you write on. As long as you can write with it, you can use it.

In my video, I literally just grab a pen I found on the floor. As long as it can write then it’s fine.

If you can also see, I don’t even have a fancy notebook to write on.

What matters in self-reflection are your thoughts and where you’re going to write your thoughts.

Furthermore, you can even write it down on your computer if you’re the techy type.

But why do we need to write things down? Can’t we just think of things then take note of them?

Truth is, you can gather your thoughts even without writing them down.

You can even reflect while working out or while just staring at the window. But we are not good at memorizing things and we often forget a lot of things.

In the book Getting Things Done by David Allen, he explained that our brain is not good at storing memories. That’s why it is important to have something to write on.

That’s also why sticky notes are popular. You can just have something to write on instantly and post it wherever you want.

However, we are good at processing. That’s why we are going to use that while reflecting.

I’ve made a book review on Getting Things Done. If you are interested in productivity, I think you’ll enjoy this book summary I’ve made. Here is the video.

That’s my second video so sorry for the quality.

3. Start Clearing your Mind

I said earlier that our brain is a good processor and that we need to be distraction-free while reflecting.

That’s because we can only start to reach our deep thoughts that way.

So for a while, stop thinking of your work, your to-do list, or your pending tasks.

That is also why I suggest that beginners reflect right after waking up since they haven’t worked yet.

It is easier to reflect while you’re still away from work. Reflecting after work can prevent you from reaching your deep thoughts since you already have a lot of things to think about.

But don’t worry since we usually get better at reflecting the more we do it.

So this is the final preparation stage we will do. We should start clearing our minds because we will need absolute focus to achieve 30 minutes of reflection in just 5 minutes.

To start clearing your mind, do not:

  • Look at your work
  • Think of anything outside the reflection session
  • Look at social media
  • Chat on the internet

In short, do not do anything that will start your day. The things that we can learn from the internet might cause is to start being busy and prevent us from reflecting.

Just give yourself a few minutes to relax and reflect.

4. Write 3 to 5 Things That You Are Grateful For

Now, we are starting to make our reflection.

Do not worry, all those preparations can be done in just a few seconds. You also don’t have to clear your mind if you’re reflecting right after waking up.

Now, start to write 3 to 5 things you are grateful for.

The thing about life is that we usually take a lot of things for granted.

That’s why most people are just plain sad with their life. But the usual problem is that they don’t really lack something. They just don’t appreciate what they have now.

For example, some people would be grateful to have clean air to breathe or to have a loving family.

You may be grateful that there is a roof above your head. You might be grateful that you have access to the internet.

There are lots of small things that we should be grateful for.

Here is a simple example of what to write.

Date: September 8

  1. I had a good sleep
  2. I have a loving family
  3. I have enough food to eat

The benefits of doing this are:

  1. You do not have to write long sentences thus saving time.
  2. You will start appreciating the things you have in life.
  3. You will be happier and be more appreciative.
  4. This is a good exercise to build your creativity.

Remember that it will be hard at the start. There are lots of things that we should be grateful for that we take for granted.

The more you do it, the more you will see things to be grateful for and you’ll start appreciating your daily life.

Ask How You Feel in the Present Moment (Optional)

This is very optional and you will only need to do this if you can’t think of things to be grateful for.

Furthermore, you can also do this to start clearing your head.

But you can skip this step if you’ve already written the things you’re grateful for.

The trick here is that you think of your present situation.

For example, since you’ve just woke up, you might feel that you had a great sleep. Thus, it is one of the things that you should be grateful for.

If you’ve just finished your breakfast, you feel full so you might write that you have enough food to feel full.

This can be done in a deeper manner such as you feel that you are slowly getting to your goals since you are becoming busier with tasks.

Going to the present moment is good to start clearing your head. This prevents you from thinking of other things outside your reflection session such as worrying about your tasks for the day.

5. Write the Most Important Task of the Day

If you have a clear goal in mind, then this is the most important part of your reflection.

One benefit of reflection is that it helps us stay on the path to our goals. For example, my highlight today is to write this long blog post. So no matter what, I still need to finish this.

This prevents us from mindlessly waste our days. Having our most important task for the day is our way to make sure that our day is well spent.

Having our most important task of the day or highlight has numerous benefits such as:

  1. Keeping us on track with our goals.
  2. Helps us live with a purpose.
  3. Provides guilt-free pleasure.
  4. Makes us consistent.

I think I need to explain the guilt-free pleasure.

I am a person that really enjoys watching videos online. However, if I just watch videos all day, I will be extremely guilty since I didn’t achieve anything to reach my goals.

So to help with that, I have to finish my highlight first before watching anything online. Because of that, I can enjoy while knowing that I have already completed the most important task today.

Furthermore, do not do more than 3 highlights.

In fact, just having one is enough. Having a lot of highlights can lead to burning out.

So, here is the example and I’ve added the highlight.

Date: September 8

  1. I had a good sleep
  2. I have a loving family
  3. I have enough food to eat

Highlight: finish one blog post

6. Write in 3 to 5 Sentences What Happened or What will Happen to Your Day

This can be done depending on when you decide to make your reflection.

If you’re doing your reflection after waking up, then this will include your plans for today.

If you’re doing your reflections before sleeping, then this will include what happened that day.

Make sure to make it short but concise. We want to finish our reflection as quickly as possible.

Here are the benefits of writing a short summary of the day.

  1. Helps us be clear on what happened today
  2. Helps us plan the day
  3. Helps organize our deep thoughts
  4. Gives us a better assessment of the day
  5. Makes it easy to read in the future,.
  6. Saves a lot of time writing.

Remember that we would usually have a lot of thoughts upon reflection. Consider those as raw data.

Now, we need to organize these thoughts into a few sentences as a form of summary. This is very important since there are times where we need to scan our reflections in the future.

A simple summary would make it easier for us to understand what happened.

Now, let’s continue with the example.

Date: September 8

  1. I had a good sleep
  2. I have a loving family
  3. I have enough food to eat

Highlight: finish one blog post

Today, I feel like I was being lazy but I was able to find out that I was over-delivering in my work. I found this out because the program prevented me from submitting more since I have exceeded the daily quota. I also learned today the importance of passion and grit.

Have 2 to 5 Questions To Reflect On (Optional)

If you are having problems with writing your short summary, then you can do start thinking of questions to reflect on.

But take note that this is not necessary if you’ve already written the short summary,

But remember that this is optional and I think it’s just overcomplicating the process.

However, this is really helpful on days where you aren’t getting any ideas while reflecting.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  1. What are my current situation socially, financially, personally, etc.
  2. Do I have some pain from the past? What can I do to make things right?
  3. Have I done any mistakes today?
  4. Am I working on my goals?
  5. What are my goals?
  6. Did I live according to my values today?
  7. What have I learned today?

7. Focus on Your Own Thoughts, Be Critical and Be Objective

We are now done with the self-reflection session. This is just a tip to make things easier.

Make sure to focus on your own thoughts, be critical, and be objective.

It can become hard to reflect at first. Do not be discouraged since that is normal for everyone.

In life, the hardest thing to do is always the start.

The more you reflect, the easier it will be in the future.

This is another tip. Remember to focus on your own thoughts.

You can go to a loop that you are blaming others for what happened to your day. Remember that it is a self-reflection.

You should be focused on yourself. Don’t care about the thoughts of others for now. There is a different time for that.

Next is to be critical and objective. This can be done by carefully analyzing the situation.

If you’ve followed my step on clearing your mind, this will come naturally as you will start being deep with your thoughts.

You will start be thinking deeply asking your true self what you want in life.

But take note that it is hard and close to impossible to reach that level as a beginner. Just be consistent and through time, you’ll reach the deeper side of your thoughts.

That’s why consistency is key which is the last and the most important step.

8. Schedule another Reflection Session

Do not end your reflection without scheduling another.

Remember that we’ve started self-reflection with a schedule, now we have to schedule another.

Remember that a single reflection session wouldn’t help you much.

But continuously doing this for weeks, months, and even years will yield the best results.

That’s why I kept everything simple that you can do it in just 5 minutes.

It’s just like going to the gym. You won’t have the perfect body by staying 5 hours in the gym for a day.

You have to consistently work out 3 to 5 times a week for about an hour to see results.

That’s the same for reflections.

A long 30-minute reflection will not do you any good.

But doing 5 minutes of reflection every day will produce a better you.

For a detailed guide on how long should you reflect if you decided to reflect daily, weekly, or even yearly, you may check this blog post I’ve made: How long should we self-reflect?

Only the things I love.

ongjason.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, I earn an affiliate commission.

If you’re following me, you’ll know that I believe it is essential to have some tools, whether it’s for personal development or lifestyle in general.

So, here are the things I love.

YouTube

If you want to learn things for free, then I recommend you to watch my YouTube Channel. Click the Button Below to go straight into my Channel. 🙂

Okay, let me first explain my Channel.

I believe that I really can’t explain everything too well on my blog. That’s why I created a YouTube Channel so I can easily explain a lot of things. Plus, I believe that Video Sharing is the future.

Recommended Books

The next thing is books. Books are, for me, one of the cheapest ways to get invaluable information. We can learn personal development, finance, career, relationships, and many more from books.

Here, I will be listing my favorite books in different categories.

  1. For Beginners7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Personal development has a lot of concepts and ideas to learn. Thus it can be really hard for beginners to know where to start. Thus, I recommend this book since all the basic concepts of personal development are here(except finance, check what I recommended for that)
  2. ProductivityThe One Thing by Gary Keller – This book teaches us the power of focusing on one thing which is the ultimate source of productivity. The concepts taught are what I am using to constantly publish YouTube videos while maintaining this website.
  3. Busy?Make Time by Jack Knapp – This book teaches us how to make time for the things we love. The concept is really simple but I think that makes it a book worth reading.
  4. HealthLifespan by Dr.Sinclair – This Book teaches about the latest scientific research on lifespan. In his book, he has shared numerous things he is doing to slow down his aging process. This can be as easy as eating less which he recommends.
  5. FinanceThe Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason – Perhaps one of the first books I’ve read about Finance, this book for me is the best if we are talking about learning basic finance such as basic saving and investing. The concepts are very simple but effective.

Audiobooks

Take this advice as a grain of salt.

I don’t recommend buying Audiobooks one by one. I mean, audiobooks can be quickly finished by listening while working out or doing some mindless tasks.

So here is to save you some money. Just go for a monthly subscription to Audible. I believe that you will save a lot of money with that plus, they usually give freebies to anyone starting.

My Audiobook Recommendation will always be the same as my book recommendations, but I personally like The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I like how she is so casual while reading her book.

Similar Posts