Reflection Cycles (30) - Incrium

Reflection Cycles

Inspired by this post I read a few months ago from Hacker News:

I have an admittedly crazy thing I do occasionally. I do 5 minute pomodoros. So it's 5 minutes of writing code followed by 1 minute of reflection. In that one minute, I'll write down what I did in the last 5 minutes (it takes about 10 seconds to write since it isn't much ;-). I'll also add a few TODOs that I'm hoping to do, or break down ones I've already got. Now, 5 minutes seems an impossibly small amount of time, and admittedly this is a difficult technique. It's also very tiring (I can't do it day after day), but once you get good at it, it's surprising what you can get done in 5 minutes. You don't necessarily need to have written code -- just made some progress towards understanding something, etc. Later, I'll go over my notes. I've got everything annotated every 5 minutes which means that it's ripe for thinking about how I can improve. Did I make a wrong turn somewhere that wasted me time? Was there a way I could have detected that? Did I decide not to do something test first when it would have been better to do so? Etc, etc. I should point out that while I have a timer, I only use it as a suggestion -- I don't have any notifications for instance. It's just that if I glance down and notice my timer has gone (or is close), then I wrap up what I'm doing to get to the reflection stage. Similarly, if I'm writing TODOs and it's being productive, I don't mind doing it for 5 minutes or so. Finally, if I run into something really puzzling, then I just turn off the timer. Some problems need thinking time (though I have found that having only a few minutes to make progress often forces me to try something in order to get more information and that will crack the nut -- indeed, far more often than I would have ever suspected). It's the only tool I've found that really helps me improve my technique. The other pretty cool thing about it is that I've found that this log helps me get in and out of the zone extremely quickly. Even if I've put it down overnight, I'm right back into it within a minute or so. I am measurably much more productive with this method (like 2 or 3 times more productive), which surprised me initially (I thought I would be much less productive). The real downside is that it's draining. I can't keep it up for more than a couple of days at a time. Anyway, very dissimilar to what you were talking about, but I highly recommend it for those interested understanding what they are doing and how to improve.

from mikekchar

I bought a physical HIIT timer with 8m of working/1m reflecting on a specific question: What would the ideal version of me have done?

I find that this usually takes less than a minute and doesn't feel like it breaks flow much. I stopped for a while because I got covid but when I was doing this regularly I think it was working to help me slowly build better metacognition.

Tags: Metacognition, Experiment