CCD Red Degree Practice - Daily Reflection

The first Practice of the Red Degree is also one of the most important in the whole Clean Code Developer system. It is the practice of Daily Reflection.

If you intend to succeed at anything you need to take some time out and reflect on what you have been doing. Ask yourself if your current process is working. If it isn't then what might you do to change it? If it is already working for you then what about it works? Can you get more leverage by concentrating on the things that work?

Here is what I suggest:

  1. Think back on what you've been doing and select one thing that you think you might have done better. Think about how you might have performed this task better and what you might need to achieve that goal. Sometimes you require more time, sometimes you need guidance from a mentor and sometimes just realizing you could have done something differently is enough
  2. Realize that you aren't going to fix that thing but you can prevent yourself from falling into the same trap in the future
  3. Think back on something you've been doing right. Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and consider how you might apply that same ability in the future. Make a commitment to keep doing that thing right

That is all it takes. I recommend doing things in that order so that you are left with that warm sense of satisfaction at the end. You want to be sure that you don't concentrate on the warm fuzzy stuff up front and then live the rest of the day feeling unsatisfied with your performance.

It is highly tempting to say "Oh yeah, daily reflection. I do that on the bus on the way home." Avoid this temptation. It is imperative that you schedule real work time to reflect. Try to do it the same time each day and turn it into a rigorous process. If you claim that you'll do it on a walk or in the shower you will find that you are frequently too tired to do the practice justice. You will focus too much on the bad things and not enough on the good or vice-versa. It should only take you 10-15 minutes to perform a daily reflection as a mental exercise. I recommend putting it into your calendar mid-afternoon or mid-morning.

Here are some benefits of Daily Reflection:

  1. It helps you learn from your mistakes
  2. It gives you great ideas
  3. It helps you help others
  4. It makes you happier
  5. It gives you perspective

5 Powerful Reasons to Make Reflection a Daily Habit and How to Do It, zenhabits.net

One last thing that I'd recommend is to write down anything that comes to you in daily reflection. You'd be surprised how easy this is. Blogs, Notebooks, Twitter, Sending yourself a email. These are all great ways of recording your journey. You don't ever need to read it again but it will help you to write it down.

There is more to the practice of Daily Reflection as it is laid out in the CCD Red Degree description but it does not seem to translate that well. I believe that their recommendation is to consider each day a success or a failure based on your adherence to the Red Degree practices, principles and tools. If you fail you must swap the coloured arm-band that you wear to the other wrist. After 21 consecutive days of wearing the arm-band on one wrist (i.e. Success) you may advance to the Orange Level.

I may have mistranslated the above but I do not necessarily agree. Any day in which you can find one thing that went right and one thing that went wrong is a success. If you can commit to continually evaluating and improving your process then you have lost nothing. In my opinion, transferring to the Orange Degree is a matter of personal belief.

clean-codecontinuous-improvement
Posted by: Mike Minutillo
Last revised: 27 May, 2011 02:42 PM History

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