Why a Year End Review…
How would you like to approach 2016 with much more insight, wisdom and focus than you’ve ever possessed?
How would you like plans and decisions to jump off the page?
How would you like 2016 to be the best year it can possibly be?
You can with this simple, but profound exercise as 2015 closes out.
In order to maximize 2016 you need to properly assess 2015. You do this through a simple but profound Year End Review process.
You can always go forward better if you know where you’ve been and where you currently are.
We suggest each of our clients (and personally to our friends) to do your own Year End Review.
Ideally, you set aside a large block of time, or several extended blocks where you can give your Year End Review special focus.
Try to avoid interruptions during this time.
The review consists of simple questions that we guarantee will provide profound insights.
What You Need for Your Year End Review
You’ll need (if you don’t have some of these don’t worry, these are ideal):
- a piece of paper or computer to record your answers
- a list of 2015 goals (if available)
- your 2015 meeting appointment calendar
- a print out summary of your personal and/or business finances (expenditures and revenue)
- a time audit (if you completed one, if not just do this in 2016).
- a journal or diary
I try to print these things out as I like to complete this process as offline as possible so I don’t drift into other areas. But whatever works for you best is best.
Here is the Simple Process for Your Year End Review
These may seem like simple questions. They are simple but not easy to fully answer. Reflect deeply. They get progressively more challenging.
Review Your Goals
Hopefully you had formal written business and life goals, but even if you didn’t, probably had some internal goals, some things you wanted to accomplish.
Ask the following questions of each goal:
- Was this the RIGHT goal in hindsight?
- What the result of accomplishing or not accomplishing this goal?
- What obstacles slowed or prevented the goal from being accomplished?
- How can I eliminate those obstacles in the future?
After the Year End Review, you’ll be more prepared to set, clear written 2016 Life and Business Goals.
Review Your Challenges
Life has a way of dealing us some unexpected problems, challenges and obstacles.
- What expected problems occurred?
- What unexpected problems cropped up this year?
- Is there any way I could have better foreseen these problems?
- What were the solutions to each of these problems?
- How did I arrive at the solution (useful for this year’s problems)?
At the end of this exercise, you can create a list of best solution methodologies for 2016 for the problems that will arise.
Review Your Appointments
Time is more valuable than money. Therefore it is important to review each appointment you had to see what “fruit” occurred from them.
Grab your calendar or appointment book and do a quick assessment of each appointment.
- Did I go into each appointment with a clear objective (even if it was to improve the relationship)?
- How well was that objective accomplished?
- Where expectations clearly set? How could I have set them better?
- Did the person(s) follow through on action items? Did I?
- What fruit occurred because of the meeting/appointment?
Every meeting you have should now be more filtered and focused because of this insight.
Review Your Finances
Print out a business or personal lists of budget, expenditures and revenue/income.
- What money was well spent? (good expenses/investments)
- What money was poorly spent (sounded like a good idea, but didn’t pan out)?
- What money was carelessly spent (not enough research put into the expense)?
- How could you have increased revenue/income (upselling or parallel services, better pricing models, asking for raise, etc.)?
- What financial and or investment opportunities did you miss out on?
You now have more financial wisdom on how to approach 2016.
Review Your Time
Each year you should strive to do a time audit. We do ours on 15 minute blocks for two weeks four times per year. (Plus as an agency we are always running timers, so we have that backup, as well.) The time audit seems cumbersome, but it is one of the best tools to show you how you are REALLY using your time.
You can use one of many online time tracking tools or do it on a spreadsheet or notebook paper.
I once had an intern who said he didn’t have time to read an extra book a month for self-growth. Once he looked at his time audit, he realized just how much time he had spent on TV and gaming. Soon he was reading a book a month easily.
For personal use, I recommend doing the time audit from when you wake to when you go to sleep. This will give you the truest since of how you invest your time.
Categorize your time into blocks.
My personal blocks are (not in order of priority):
- New business acquisition
- Moon and Own internal work (working on the agency)
- Client Work (I have several sub-categories)
- Spiritual Development (self and others)
- Personal/Business Skills Development
- Focused Family Time
Warning: You will say, but this wasn’t a normal two weeks. I have reviewed many time reviews with people. They say this every time they hand me one. I have news for you. It was the week that was. You do this exercise enough and you’ll find there is NO such thing as a normal week…ever.
Review Your Legacy
Why are you on the planet?
What do you MOST want to leave behind?
Maybe it’s the way you shape your children to shape future generations, maybe it’s a book full of wisdom, maybe it’s a group of men or women who are more successful because of your investment in them, or maybe it’s a solid business that lasts into the future.
- What primary legacy do you want to leave behind (take your time)?
- What did you do this year to foster that legacy?
- What legacy work should you have done in 2015 that did not get completed but could in 2016?
Your legacy is your most lasting impact. It is what remains of your life and work long after you leave this earth. You can now better ensure you spend time creating it.
Review Your Journal
I am a BIG proponent of journaling. My journal includes wisdom, quotes, and verses that spoke to me.
I also include how I was feeling emotionally/energy-wise and what challenges, opportunities, and goals I had in front of me. It also includes relational challenges as well as any blessings that occurred. I try to have a gratitude list, too.
Mine has prayers in it, but yours doesn’t have to.
If you didn’t journal, reflect on key moments of the year.
- What are the three biggest life lessons I learned this year? (Look for patterns)
Take these lessons with you as life learned. Put them into continual practice.
Review Your Relationships
This is perhaps the most vital because the key to your success is the relationships you have. This is true both personally and in business. People will best carry on your legacy. People will gather around you when you are on your death bed. People matter!
- Make a list of your key relationships.
- How well did you invest in that relationship (What did you well? What could you have done better?)
- Did you exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control towards that person?
- What was your relationship with God like in 2015?
You now have greater insight into which relationships to focus on in 2016.
NOW You are Ready to Prepare for 2016
Completing the review takes time and energy, but I promise it will pay huge dividends in terms of 2016.
After you complete the review you should be set with a strategy for:
Create 3-5 meaningful goals for you, your business or role in it, and your family (if applicable).
Try to make them measurable with milestones.
Prepare for Challenges/Problems
Have a solutions methodology in place for problems that arise (who you call, what processes you use to problem solve, etc.) and hopefully foresee them earlier.
Make a list of what expenses you will eliminate or reduce, create a better budget, and make a plan to increase revenue or income.
Better schedule meetings and appointments with the right people and lead them in the most effective way.
Set expectations and objectives better for each meeting.
Better spend time in your core blocks, know where you are spending your time, and eliminate wasted time.
Schedule your weeks of vacation for 2016 NOW so you have that refreshing time blocked out.
Build a Legacy
Ensure you spend energy and effort on securing your legacy in 2016 by planning concrete activity towards it.
Start Journal 2016
Bring the three life lessons clearly stated into 2016 with you. This can keep you from having to painfully relearn them. If you are faith based, this will give you insight on what you want to change in terms of your relationship with God, as well.
Know whom you need to invest in and grow your key relationships. Put down some real-world investment in others strategies.
Your Year End Review is KEY to accomplishing all this. I beseech you, carve out time to do your Year End Review in the next two weeks, and GOOD THINGS will come from it. I guarantee it. There is no better way to spend your time in the next couple of weeks.
Don’t let 2016 “just happen” to you. Lead 2016 to where you want it to go.
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