It’s the time of year for reviews. This is usually when we are reminded of what has happened in the last twelve months in the worlds of politics, sport and music. Yet how many of us perform a review of our own?
If this is something you don’t usually do for your business let me suggest the following process.
Firstly you must have some record of the past year to review. I used to be quite poor at keeping track of what I did each week. Eventually I realised it meant I was overlooking my (admittedly modest) achievements. Ultimately this lead to me losing motivation, so I started keeping better records. (Though they could still be better – see below). Now I just go through this year’s desk diary and look at each week and the 3-weekly reviews I do throughout the year.
If your records are less than useful perhaps you could look at when certain files were created or downloaded to get a clearer idea of what you have been doing over the past 12 months.
Use your records to write out a quick summary of your year and then ask yourself the following questions.
1. What did you accomplish? If you set targets at the start of, or during, the year did you reach them?
There were several for me, including starting this blog. I also recorded some videos using Camtasia for the first time and opened a business Paypal account. These may appear to be small steps, but they seemed daunting and troublesome at the time.
2. What were the biggest disappointments during the year?
This may be the easiest question to answer so guard against writing a long, depressing list.
For myself the biggest disappointment is the slow, almost glacial progress I have made putting together a product.
3. what have I learnt? Thinking of the answers to the two previous questions may help you answer this one.
Personally, I realise that I still need to improve how I plan and record my work, and that steps which seem daunting should be done anyway. They often turn out to be nowhere near as difficult as I assume them to be.
The next questions build on your answers so far and look ahead to next year.
4. What results do you want next year? You need to be clear about your destinations if you are to make the most of your footsteps. (Sorry, came over all Confucius there!)
A completed front end product and a new membership site are my main targets at the moment. I don’t have the concept for the site fully formed, but it’s enough to know the general direction I want to take.
Having an idea of the results you want and thinking about your successes and failures this year, try these next questions.
5. What should you stop doing to get the results you want?
6. What should you start doing to achieve the results you want?
7. What will you have to keep doing to get your desired results?
8. Is there anything you should do more of to get the results you want?
Your answers may seem to produce something of a wishlist of actions for next year. The big question now is will you have time to do all the things you plan?
For now just concentrate on answering the first eight questions. In my next post we’ll address this last question by planning your time.
Do you review your year? If so what approach do you take? If not, is the above helpful? I’d be really interested in your comments and feedback as I believe a good review and planning process can have you hitting the ground running in the New Year.