Thursday, January 7, 2010

Link: Planning Out Your Year in Detail

This is related to the previous post about creating a year-in-review document.

Charles Kirk of "The Kirk Report" has written about the importance of taking the time to plan out the coming year. He is a trader and writes from that point of view, but I could relate to everything in the post. (Most of us only have vague hopes for what we'd like to happen this year.) His is a much more rigorous approach, in a post titled: Create A Vision For Your Life.

Thanks to Kalyan for the pointer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Creating a “Year In Review” document

For over 10 years now, in early January of each year I create a “Year in Review” document about the year that just got over. I have shared bits and pieces of it with a few others, but I primarily write it for myself.

For 2009, you should definitely try and create a similar document for yourself.

Back in 1998, when I started to feel that the days were just running together and that all the years were getting “stapled together” as one, I started creating these personal Year In Review documents.

Whenever I have read my review documents a few years after they were typed up, I have always come away learning something and invariably being surprised about how faulty my memory is. I can’t be sure, but I do believe that these documents have subconsciously helped me to change course.

My review document is 1 to 3 pages long. Here are some of the “easier” categories to include in a Year in Review. A few sentences each about:
Your family: Additions/losses/get-togethers in 2009
Professional: Your job, your bosses, close colleagues, key projects, conferences, skills learned in 2009, kudos received that you are proud of.
Travel: Where all did you manage to go, what’s still at the top of your “must visit” list.
Personal Finance: How you feel about your earning, savings and expenditure. Any investments you tried, their results and what you hope to do in the coming year.
People: Who did you meet and spend time with this year? People who influenced your thinking and who had an impact on you.
Entertainment/Arts: Books read, movies that had an impact, music concerts attended, songs and albums that you got.

And then there are categories that I make up. Personal projects (and hobbies), new things I get temporarily addicted to, volunteering attempts etc. Often I include new internet sites that I discovered and spent time on that year. (For example, this year I am including a section on TED Talks because they were such an important part of my life in 2009.) Since mine is a Word document, I sometimes include a few photos. I have also started adding things that I was disappointed with about myself in the year gone by.

This document is not at all like the “Annual Performance Report” that we create at work for our annual review with our supervisor, where we play up everything. Your Year in Review is just for your eyes.

Give it a try. You might enjoy writing it more than you initially think.

Ten years from now, around 2020 or so, when you look back at your 2009 list you will be thanking yourself. Creating a “Year in review” is a gift that you give to your future self.