As a small business owner and creative, I have to wear all the hats.
Sometimes (often) that means that I'm running off in a lot of directions at the same time.
I try hard to walk the talk of the productivity tools that I am often advising others on trying. I come by this honestly ... it was part of the last role I played in my organization before jumping into running my own show. However, I do slip every now and again into the unfocused overwhelm that can happen when I'm not on top of my planning.
That's why I faithfully take the time in this week each year to sit down to do an annual review and action plan for the upcoming year.
Whether you are a business owner, an artist/maker, a director in a big organization, a teacher, a parent ... doing an annual review can be fun, interesting and a nice way to carve out a few hours for yourself in this time of year to look back and look forward.
I have a few tried and true go-to's when it comes to doing a yearly review, so I thought I would share my favourites.
1. My Maker's Yearbook! I LOVE this book! I have been using this agenda and review/action plan system for a few years now. It's a bit on the pricey side (it comes from the UK so there ARE additional duties/fees on top of the cost of the book) but it is totally worth it (in my opinion).
The book itself is BEAUTIFUL, coil-bound and sturdy. Mine goes everywhere with me (even on our Saskatchewan road trips) and it has nary a scratch on it's cover ... amazing! I even love the process of pulling out my brand-spankin' new book in this week and flipping it open. It is the perfect guide through my review of the year that has just passed and it sets me up with my goals, vision and plans for the one to come.
If you get over to the website to purchase one of these and find out they are all sold out in hard copy for this year, you can purchase the PDF and get the same benefits that way - at a much cheaper price (and no duties/fees!). Anyway, highly recommend.
2. Chris Guillebeau (The Art of Non-Conformity blog and podcast) goes through his own handy framework for doing an annual review. Here is his wrap-up for 2021. (p.s. he writes a great many other blog posts that you might just want to curl up and get into with your next cup of coffee ... so good!).
3. Another nice one you might want to try out: YearCompass. It's a beautiful booklet and absolutely FREE. It's also available in many, many languages! Love that.
4. How about taking the time to do a calendar audit? Here's how (in brief):
- Carve out an afternoon to go through your 2021 calendar. This might be a difficult exercise if you don't use a calendar system for noting your appointments and plans. But if you do, look back through the last 12 months and note the things that were worth your time and that you want to see more of in 2022.
- Next, note which things were a waste of your time and energy; things you do not want to do again in 2022.
- Now, note the things that make you feel you are having a good life and want to experience more of.
- Going forward for 2022, put all your goals and vacation and family time and everything in your calendar so that you can meet your commitments and audit next year against the goals you set. Don't forget time for professional development and learning!
5. If you can't make the time for a full review right now, how about just coming up with a word for the year, as suggested by Gretchen Rubin. I've been doing this for a few years now and it is another good reflection/looking forward exercise.
I hope you find some of these suggestions useful. Here's to a happy, joy-filled and possibly even magical 2022. We sure deserve it!
- Carmen xo