The 10 question annual review – 2018 edition

The 10 question annual review is a end-of-year ALearningaDay tradition. Here’s how it works in 3 steps –

1. We carve an hour out over the next few days to “look back and look forward.” If we have past versions of the annual review, a recommended approach is to start the hour with a quick skim of past versions.

2. We work with 10 questions – with a suggested split of 4-6 between looking back and looking forward. 10 questions helps ensure we get to the depth required for insight while ensuring it doesn’t feel daunting. In case it helps, I have shared the 10 questions I use below and have a Google doc version if you’d like to download, edit, or print.

3. We archive our notes for next year – if we write out answers to the 10 questions, then we keep the sheets in a place we will be able to access next year. If we type it, we just need to make sure it is stored on Dropbox/G Drive or some place it will never get lost.

This annual review hour is one of my favorite parts of the year. I have annual reviews with responses to a version of these 10 questions from 2010 and looking back is an exercise that inspires humility, gratitude, and many a broad grin.

And, of course, doing this can be even more fun if you decide to share some of your notes with folks you care about/those who featured in your review.

I hope you’re able to try it this year and I look forward to hearing how it goes.


Part I – Look back

1. The Theme or peak moment – One word/line descriptions:
a) 2018 was the year of
b) 2019 will be the year of

Runners Up Theme or peak moment
a) 2018 was also the year of
b) 2019 will also be the year of

2. What were my 3 greatest successes/memories from 2018?

3. What were my 3 biggest lessons learnt from 2018?

4. How did 2018 fit in to the big picture/contribute to the big dreams in my life? (i.e. did any dots connect?)

Part II – Look forward

5. What are 3 themes I am thinking about for 2019? Are there any “process goals” I want to commit to?

6. What skills do I want to develop in 2019 (personal and professional)? What actions am I going to take to develop them?

7. Who/what were my biggest sources of inspiration/learning/energy this year? Are they high on my priority list to engage with (if they are people) or to do (if they were actions) for 2019?

8. Who were my personal/professional board of directors/advisors/sponsors this year? How do I plan to engage with them in 2019?

9. What have I got planned in 2019 to prioritize rest and renewal (e.g. holiday plans, weekend activities, hobbies)?

10. What are my 3 most important core beliefs or principles? And, are my goals for 2019 aligned with these core beliefs?

Audit

An audit is an inspection of an organization’s processes typically conducted by a third party. I love the idea of an annual audit and I think I’ve become more conscious about the process over time. And, this year, I am thinking about the various parts of my life as I aim to commit to a few practices for the coming year.

For starters, I tend to take a concentric circle view when I think of my priorities.

This builds on a simple principle – you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. However, the prioritization that follows is personal. I think of my people, my work and my community (service) as the priorities that follow – in that order. So, here are some questions I’m asking myself. This isn’t an exhaustive list of the question I should be asking as I’m focused on areas I most want to improve.

Me
How can I eat healthier?
How can I be fitter?
What is my information diet looking like? How can it be less, but better?

My people
How can I be more conscious in my relationships?

My career
How can I organize my workday better to make sure I’m tapping maximum productivity?
Post kid, how do I embrace more flexibility in terms of when I work without letting it affect my engagement at home?
How can I take the time to synthesize what is going in tech?
How can we manage our finances better?

My community/service
How do I define service?

I’ll aim to write about the results of these questions over the next few days.

The 10 question annual reflection form

6 years ago, I created a 10 question annual review form as a way to do a “look back and look forward” reflection exercise at the end of the year. Of course, ten questions isn’t perfect and longer forms might do a better job. But, I wanted the reflection to be short and fun rather than something that felt daunting.

Over these years, I’ve found myself spending lesser time on this review. That’s because the questions from the exercise, particularly the ones around the skills I intend to develop, have increasingly driven my thought process during the year. So, the reflection has become an ongoing process rather than a once a year thing. And, I think that’s exactly how it should work.

Review, reflectionI have shared the form every year on this blog and, keeping with tradition, I have the PDF and word versions of the review form for you. Please feel free to use as is or edit to develop your own. Aside from suggesting you take 15 minutes to do this, I would definitely suggest keeping these forms with you. Revisiting them in future years is not just fascinating.. it is fun. :-)

Happy reflection!

PS: If you’re having difficulty with the word version, please just send me an email on rohan at rohanrajiv.com