How to be better at it the next time

Photo of myself thinking, sitting on the couch with a notebook and a pen

We all have something we want to improve on. Whether this thing is part of us, work, a passion, or else … as long as it’s something we repeat (or will have to repeat) frequently, we have a well-founded desire to improve on it.

While this desire is necessary to improve, on its own, as you might expect, it won’t be enough. This desire must be coupled with strong intention and thoughtful action.

If you have the desire and the intention, I hope this article will provide you with the missing piece to take action and help yourself improve or at least bring you closer to it.

How to improve

Before starting this little adventure, it’s essential to have something you can use to take notes. It can be a notebook, an app on your smartphone, … the form doesn’t matter, as long as it’s portable enough so that you usually have it on you to take notes or retrieve the information you would have previously put there. Don’t hesitate to combine different forms of notes if you feel the need. For my part, I have 2 ways to take notes and therefore 2 supports to suit these different ways: a notebook, and the Google Keep app on smartphones and computers. It allows me to have my notes available wherever I am.

1. Find improvement points

To improve, you have to find what there is to improve first. To do so, as soon as you have completed that task, detach yourself for a moment, and take a step back.

When you come back to it, ask yourself:

  • What were the most difficult moments?
  • What could you do to simplify them?
  • What absolutely should not be reproduced?
  • If you could start over, what would you do differently?

Ask for feedback:

  • What do your peers think of your process and the outcome?
  • Can you make it easier for one of your collaborators?

Write down anything that comes into your mind and that you could consider to be close to an answer to these questions.

2. Note and organize improvement points

To make these notes even more effective, you will have to contextualize them and group them by the stages you are going through to accomplish this famous task or activity.

Example of organization of improvement points by stage

3. Read your notes at the right time

The next time you start the same task or activity, before each step, take your notes, read the improvement points you noted for that step and apply them meticulously.

Repeat the loop and improve it

By taking out your notes before each step to read the improvement points linked to it, and ensuring their meticulous application, these improvement points will become part of you over time.

As soon as you are comfortable with retrospectives, don’t wait for them to look at what you’re doing with a critical eye, and then immediately note the improvement points you notice or to which your attention is drawn during the task or activity.

Go further

This tip comes from my professional life. In the beginning, I had a logbook in which I took daily notes of my mistakes, what I was proud of … Then I needed to better contextualize the improvement points, so I created a sheet for every recurring task that I would like to improve on. In each of these sheets, I noted improvement points and grouped them by stage.

Today, I use this trick to improve myself as a person. When I make a mistake that isn’t obvious to avoid, I write it down with the context in which I made it. I reread this note several times, as well as the next time the context arises, so I don’t make exactly the same mistake again.

It’s something that requires a lot of willpower and energy. If you want to use it to improve your relationships or the person you are, choose 1 or 2 topics max at a time. Otherwise, you risk being quickly overwhelmed and giving up.

I hope you found this article useful.

If it’s the case, leave me feedback to let me know (applause or comments), and share it with someone who is likely to enjoy it as much as you did.

If you want to discuss this article or anything else, find me on:

Looking forward,

Colbys

Product Researcher & Designer ⎜ Interested in human behavior, and many forms of expression (Painting, Music,...).