The Advantages of Wanting Again and Wanting Ahead

For greater than a decade, every year, I’ve been assembly with two buddies to do a “look again/look ahead” train.

Generally we break this train into two conferences; this yr, we did each components in the identical assembly.

How can we conduct this “look again/look ahead” train?

  • Meet in individual, if doable
  • Have a pad of fine paper and good markers at hand
  • Deliver look again/look ahead pages from earlier years

Look back/look forward materials

I discover this train terribly helpful, but when I’m being sincere, I don’t suppose I’d do it alone. It takes a number of hours, a variety of onerous considering and soul-searching; I’m undecided I’d carve out the time to do it yr after yr if I wasn’t doing it with buddies. Accountability!

As a result of the three of us do it collectively, we don’t overlook to do it, and we find time for it. Additionally, we take time to speak about our insights and observations, about ourselves and one another. That dialog can be extraordinarily helpful.

Every of us does this train barely otherwise, so I’ll describe how I do it.

As an example, I take advantage of this train to discover my work life. I observe essential private milestones, however for context, moderately than to intently monitor what occurred.

Look Again at 2023

To do the “look again,” to jog my reminiscence, I reviewed my “23 for 23” checklist and my digital calendar.

On one web page of fine paper, in separate packing containers, I famous:

  • My one-word theme for the yr: for 2023, “Wave”
  • My annual problem: #GoOutside23in23
  • Private milestones: resembling celebrating my in-laws’ anniversary, giving the graduation deal with for my daughter’s high-school commencement, jury obligation, Justice O’Connor’s dying
  • Journey: each private and work, together with holidays and conferences

Most of my entries are associated to artistic initiatives I’ve labored on, so that they every have their very own field; as an illustration:

A few of my packing containers are extra idiosyncratic, as an illustration:

  • Didn’t work: I famous issues that didn’t work out, or that failed altogether; as an illustration, I attempted to determine an concept for an audio-book from my materials, and haven’t cracked that but
  • Realized: I made a listing of issues I noticed; as an illustration, I noticed that going to conferences could be very helpful for me, and ought to be extra of a precedence; I additionally realized that I need to spend extra time studying social media (sure, extra)

On the finish of the “look again” half of this train, I at all times say, “Wow, I can’t consider every part that occurred this yr.”

Creating this sort of “ta-da” checklist is basically helpful. I’ve discovered that I can turn out to be very centered on every part that I need to do sooner or later, or on the issues that I’ve been struggling to perform.

I get very energized by reminding myself of all of the issues I have executed.

Look Ahead to 2024

No shock, my “look ahead” is much less particular and extra aspirational.

For 2024, on one other web page of fine paper, I included all the main classes that I used to “look again”—additionally my one-word theme of “Revisited” and problem of #Write24in24—in addition to classes resembling:

  • Anniversaries: 2024 marks a milestone date for my marriage, my youngsters’s literature studying teams, and The Happiness Mission ebook
  • Paperback: the paperback of Life in 5 Senses
  • Adventures: My “24 for twenty-four” checklist contains “Go on 2+4 adventures” so I’ve a field with doable adventures
  • Admonitions: I wrote sure phrases in huge letters, resembling GROW ALL and CONVENE and WATERCOLOR
  • Main to-dos: I listed gadgets resembling “Replace my workplace” “New product”
  • Massive Objectives: as an illustration, doing one thing for TV, writing often for out of doors retailers, image ebook
  • Secrets and techniques of Maturity: I need to make progress on this subsequent huge ebook undertaking

Simply because the “look again” helps remind me of what I’ve completed within the earlier yr, the “look ahead” helps me articulate what I need to accomplish within the new yr.

Placing all of it on one web page, within the briefest doable type, retains this train manageable. It additionally means it’s simple to maintain a file useful of all of the earlier years’ sheets.

I’m struck by how typically a theme will repeat yr after yr earlier than it lastly will get resolved; however, typically a theme that appeared essential at one level will vanish.

These pages give me an actual feeling of each continuity and alter—in my pursuits, values, strengths, and weaknesses.

How do you look again and look ahead in your work life?

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