Update (December 2016): Version 2 of this guide is now available! Announcement post here. Links in this post are updated to send you to the latest and greatest version.
The end of a year is the perfect time to review one’s life, goals, plans, and projects, as well as plan for the upcoming year. I’ve been fine-tuning my own review process for several years and thought others might be interested to know what I do and how.
So, I wrote up my general year review process in a short PDF guide titled “8,760 Hours”—a reference to the number of hours in a year. This is essentially the review process I use, minus a few details like clearing out my inbox.
The guide has six sections:
- Introduction. Why plan at all? To get more out of life, to take responsibility for your time.
- Tools. All you really need is pen, paper, and some time. There’s also a very quick introduction to mind mapping and mind mapping software. I then present my fourteen life categories that I use for breaking down my life into its constituent parts and analyzing them.
- A snapshot of the past year. Using the fourteen categories, how are things going? What went well or poorly in the past year? What is the status of your goals and projects?
- The next 8,760 hours. First off, what is your “ideal you”? What do you want each area of your life to look like in an ideal world? Which areas need the most work? What are your major projects or goals to focus on in the upcoming year? Set some priorities.
- Optimize for success. Setting goals is necessary but not sufficient. Using what’s known about procrastination and motivation we can optimize our chances of success. If you address uncertainties before they creep up, you’ll be better prepared for them. If you schedule regular reviews you’re more likely to stay on track. Squeeze it all into a one-page calendar to keep yourself motivated and remember the big picture.
- Additional Resources. A small collection of additional resources to help you implement the rest of the guide and for further reading.
If you’re interested, grab the 22-page PDF guide here:
The guide is completely free, so take it, share it, use it as you see fit. Let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback so I can improve it in the next update.
All the best in the new year.