The end of the year is always depressing for me. It has become the time where I push my long lists of projects I wanted to get done into the bottom of my closet (metaphorically).
All the half completed to-do lists and random “I should do that” ‘s get piled up.
I then force this list into all my January timeslots.
This year I am doing things differently.
I am using the last few days of December to reflect on the things I did in 2016 and the things I wanted to do. I am pushing all my energy into understanding this year in order to take those lessons into 2017.
For this reflection process, I am giving myself five things to do before the new year.
Feel free to try this yourself.
1 – Go Through 2016 Planner
For me, my planner is Google Calendar.
I have my to-do list, meetings, deadlines, etc. all in Google Calendar. I am not perfect at keeping this up-to-date but reviewing it will give me an easy reminder of what happened throughout the year.
For you, it can be your planner you bought from the office supply store, a notebook, digital calendar, or whatever you use to keep track of your scheduled appointments and/or daily to-do list.
This is a time to remember all the things you did, the unexpected things that popped up, and the tasks (or projects) you abandoned.
2 – Clear Last Year’s Notes
A sort of clean-up time for the brain.
This is the most time-intensive part of the process. Going through all my notebooks, checking my Google Drive, Dropbox, my hard drives, note taking apps, etc., etc. All the notes get either thrown away or condensed and organized by their related project and tasks.
Since this is my first year going through this process, I have years of notes built up. I imagine you are in a similar situation. Unfortunately, there is no short cut.
My plan is to go through everything individually and hope I can get through it all before January 1st.
3 – List Tests & Results
I do tests throughout the year, but they often get lost, and I forget the results.
For example, this year I experimented with:
- Creating links back to a YouTube video
- I created 7 Days of Doodles
- I tested some advertisements
- Others I can’t think of right now…
These are experiments that have reliable results, but if I do not organize the data properly and review them occasionally, I will never learn from them.
Anything new you tried, try to record what you did and the results. If you aren’t doing these micro tests, it is something you should think about doing for 2017.
4 – List Accomplishments
By now we have reviewed our accomplishments through steps 1 – 3. Now write them down and store them somewhere to be accessible when needed.
I am using my “Adobe Sketch” app on my iPad and limiting it to one sheet. This is something you will want to reference from time to time, so keep it somewhere safe.
I also plan to separate the projects that I did not plan to do and list tasks or events that side tracked me from getting more work done (such as my car breaking down).
5 – ReLive Those Successes
Spend some time celebrating and reliving your successes from 2016. Not only will this help to give you some positive energy when you are feeling down, but it allows you to reflect on what you are excited about. This will assist in planning 2017.
Think about why you consider your list of accomplishments your success. When we get to planning 2017, your goal is to make more of these successes or have “bigger” successes (quality vs. quantity of achievements).
My next step has been to find my focus for 2017.
You can read about it here.