Reflection: The Pause That Brings Peace and Productivity – HBS Working Knowledge

Written by Dina Gerdeman

Joseph Badaracco studied classic works and interviewed 100 managers in 15 countries to learn how busy men and women find time for reflection.

Many of us feel time-pressured, tethered to our smartphones so we can stay on top of work and home responsibilities. It can be tough to step off the daily merry-go-round, put our phones, laptops, and to-do lists aside, and find decent chunks of quiet time to reflect on our lives.

In fact, we may not even be sure how.

Yet reflection is important; it gives us a chance to pause and figure out what really matters, especially when struggling with a difficult issue professionally or personally, says Joseph Badaracco, the John Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School, in his new book Step Back: How to Bring the Art of Reflection into Your Busy Life.

“We often get advice to reflect, and we often give the advice to reflect. But what is reflection?” Badaracco asks. “And how do busy people find time to reflect?”

To answer this question, Badaracco studied classic works of reflection, including Meditations by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Spiritual Exercises by Jesuit order founder Ignatius Loyola, Essays by philosopher Michel de Montaigne, as well as many diaries and journals of leaders.

Read more here.

By Jessica Yap-Chung
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