I don’t know David, but his tweet made me want to know more about his yearly reflection process. Fortunately, he documented it on his blog. It’s smart and well worth reading. A few things jumped out at me:
- His reflection starts with a review of his previous year’s goals
- In addition to his yearly review, he does daily, weekly, and monthly reviews, and he takes notes for all of them
- His planning naturally follows from his reflection
Even though he’s allocating a significant amount of time for end-of-year reflection and planning, his whole process is both integrated and iterative. As he explains:
There are a few interesting side-effects of the review process. First, they let me see the big picture across timespan we don’t normally have the time to think about. Big change takes time and we are often focused on very small time spans. The second side-effect is it let’s me see my accomplishments more clearly. I had a very good 2019, accomplishing a lot of my goals and pushing many things forward. It’s nice to pause to see the forest for the trees periodically. It also makes it easier to keep pressing forward on the hard things when I can see that I’ve made progress on them or similar hard things in the past.
His process nicely reiterates some things that I constantly find myself harping on.
First, planning and review / reflection are two sides of the same coin. Trying to do one without the other doesn’t work.
Second, long-term complements short-term reflection and planning, and vice-versa. There’s a school of thought that wants to claim that you shouldn’t plan long-term because the world is too dynamic and uncertain, as if everyday learning somehow conflicts with long-term goals, which is a fallacy. As David writes, when you do both, it helps you see both the forest and the trees.