Peter Bregman consults and writes about achieving your priorities by finding your focus. He recalls one client, Julie, who was on the verge of being fired.
She was a top performer but too hard to work with. Despite the long hours, things were falling through the cracks. When confronted with feedback, Julie wasn’t surprised; she’d heard the same thing from her previous employer.
“I believe that most of us get smarter as we get older,” Bregman says. “But somehow, despite that, we often make the same mistakes.”
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There’s a simple reason for it, he says. “We rarely take the time to pause, breathe, and think about what’s working and what’s not.”
But it takes only five minutes per day to learn how to learn, says Bregman. Here’s a five-minute strategy for getting smarter every day:
1. Put aside a few minutes as you stop working for the day.
2. Look at your calendar and compare what actually happened—meetings, work accomplished, conversations, even the breaks you took—with what you’d hoped to do.
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3. Ask yourself three sets of questions:
- How did the day go? What would I consider a “success”? What challenges did I run into?
- What did I actually learn today? About myself? About others? Will I do certain things the same or differently tomorrow?
- Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback with?
“This last set of questions is invaluable in terms of maintaining and growing relationships,” Bregman says. “It takes just a few short minutes to share your appreciation.”
— Adapted from 18 Minutes, Peter Bregman.
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