Want to be More Productive at Work? Try this 15-minute Activity

Updated at: Nov 10, 2016
Want to be More Productive at Work? Try this 15-minute Activity

A new working paper from Harvard Business School suggests that reflection aids performance. Set aside 15 minutes to write at the end of the workday to better your productivity at work.

Himanshu Sharma
Office HealthWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Jun 12, 2014

Setting aside 15 minutes to write at the end of the workday can make you more productive at work. According to a new working paper from Harvard Business School, reflection aids performance. Reflection is identified to be the critical component of learning. The most telling example comes from the field experiment with an Indian outsourcing company called Wipro.


work productivity


The researchers primarily focused on the role of doing (experience) in fostering progress over time. According to HBS professor Francesca Gino, when people have the opportunity to reflect, they experience a boost in self-efficacy. They feel more confident that they can achieve things. As a result, they put more effort into what they're doing and what they learn.


The Research

In the experiment, the researchers put new employees into groups where people either reflected on their days or didn't. One of the groups were given a paper journal and were asked to spend 15 minutes to write about what went well that day. The activity was done for 10 days.

The journaling employees had 22.8 per cent increase in performance than the other group. According to the researchers, this practice can be easily replicated across industries.

You can keep the learning in your head, but it will be better to write it down. So, you just need to take 15 minutes of your time to reflect on the day's successes in order to incorporate the lessons learnt into the next day.


The Benefits of Writing your Experiences

Researchers and more scientific evidences have supported the idea of writing about your life experiences and its effects. It has been found to improve academic performance, make managing work easier and also improving memory. Below are the reasons why you should consider keeping a journal.


productivity at work


Goal Tracker

When you keep a journal and re-read it, it will give you an appreciation for how much has been accomplished toward meeting goals. It gives your motivation levels and self-esteem a strong boost.


When you are down, a journal can help you get back on your feet. Writing down your problems and solutions can inspire you to find the way out of the problem.

Problem Solving

Everyone has problems, and sometimes, it is just not that easy to deal with it. By writing your problems down, you can make your subconscious mind to work on the problem while the conscious mind gets on with regular activities.

Memory Boost

A journal has the details of an event and when you write them down, your thoughts tend to be fresh. It becomes a valuable aid to memory; even those who have exceptional recollection capacity may not remember all the details of the event when it happened.

Keeping a journal can bring out a lot of good things. It won’t take much of your time, and gradually you will understand and appreciate how it is affecting your life for good.


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