Sometimes I talk about the annual review process in December. Tis the season and all. It’s a decent way to mark the years, plus I personally click over another year in December so there ya go.
So this week it’s time to sit down with a dedicated notebook and a pile of freshly-inked pens and go over what’s happened over the last 12 months.
Part of the review is examining last year’s review to see what kind of state I was in a year ago, what I at the time thought was plausible for the year I just went through, and what goals I wanted to hit in ‘18.
I write a table of contents for the thing. It’s helpful to organize it ahead of time.
Next comes the zeitgeist page- it’s a rundown of the general theme and shape of the year. It’s usually about one handwritten page, more if I have a lot to say about stuff. I’ve been writing a lot these days so I’m expecting there may be a lot for me to say.
After that comes a visual aid, kind of a mind map with me in the middle and all the stuff I’m working around me in a cloud. It’s a different way to think about everything I’m doing and put all my jobs in perspective. It’s fun to compare these drawings from year to year and track what enters and leaves my radar.
Next I go through a list of things I thought went well. I make a list and then dig into each item a lil bit and try to understand why what went well did so, and what kinds of things I did that helped. That’s extremely useful and helps me make decisions as I go.
The next step is the list of things that went poorly. The things I tried to do and couldn’t pull off. A list at first, followed by a teardown of each one, where I get real honest and find the patterns of thought or behavior that led to those disappointments. More decision making help there, obv.
The last step is goal-setting. I take a look at how things are going, decide what things I’m going to push myself to do, what things to let continue with the momentum they have already, and what things I want to cut away. It’s become clear to me as life wears on and the months fly by ever faster, to do new things means cutting out other things. It’s important to guard the important things when you tend to have project creep like I do. I have a tendency to add projects to my plate every few months or so, so I have to stay atop myself to make sure I don’t sign up for too much, then half-ass it.
I hope 2019 treats you well and you make real progress on whatever you’re working on. If you haven’t before, I hope you’ll consider taking a look at how the last year went and taking a little time to think about what you want the next year to look like.
Thanks for reading!