For the past 10 years, I’ve conducted an Annual Review each December to look back on the year and plan ahead for the next. During this time I set a number of goals in different categories of my life.
I’ve written about the review extensively on the blog, and over the years many people have completed it for themselves or adapted it in their own way.
This year I’ll be doing something a bit different. The review is still relevant and very much part of my life, but I’ve felt for a couple years now that something about it needs to change.
More about that later (well, soon). For now, I liked a recent post by Laura Vanderkam about how she does her version of a review. She starts off by saying something that is very much aligned with my philosophy of why I think this is so important:
Part of time management is making time for one’s priorities. The problem is that it’s not always clear what those priorities are, or else we have many priorities and have trouble figuring out what’s good to do next.
Across the corporate universe, people are now engaged in this annual ritual of looking at successes and “opportunities for growth.” These reviews tend to be backward looking (hence, “review”) but I find it’s more effective to do this exercise looking forward.
As I said, that reason is almost exactly why I like to do a forward-looking review. But then Laura mentions an analogy that I particularly like and haven’t considered before:
Instead of looking back over last year, pretend it’s the end of next year. You are popping the Champagne corks because it has been an absolutely amazing year for you professionally. What 3-5 things did you do that made it so amazing? Write this list as next year’s performance review, and you’ll have a good sense of what’s most important for you to tackle at work.
If you’ve never done your own review before, this is a great question to ponder. This time next year, what 3-5 things will have made the year amazing? Laura uses the word “professionally” because she’s writing about this in the context of a performance review, but of course your amazing things can come from your non-professional life as well.
I’ll share more about my process (and why some of it is changing) later this week.