016: Conduct an Annual Review
2 min read

016: Conduct an Annual Review

Every December, usually during the week between Christmas and New Year's, I take a half a day to conduct an annual review.
016: Conduct an Annual Review
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco / Unsplash

Welcome to Toolbox Tips, Effective’s weekly newsletter aimed at putting more tools in your productivity toolbox.

I relish the end of the year. It's my favorite time to relax, be with family, reflect on how the year went, and what the next will look like.

Every December, usually during the week between Christmas and New Year's, I take a half a day to conduct an annual review. During this time, I'm holistically evaluating my life, from finances to relationships and work to personal growth.

An effective annual review has three components:

  1. A look back at the successes and failures
  2. A holistic evaluation of the current state of your life
  3. An opportunity to dream about the possibilities and growth opportunities for the upcoming year

Practically speaking, for me this looks like:

  • Conducting a personal and business budget analysis
  • Writing out a wheel of life analysis
  • Performing an Agile-inspired retrospective
  • Dreaming about projects to take on in the upcoming year
  • Evaluating my tech stack and productivity systems for improvements
  • Developing a yearly theme to guide my decision making

Year after year, I've found this process to be enjoyable, energizing, and something that excites me to keep going (and to keep doing the reviews). In fact, some of my most successful ideas, like the podcast, YouTube channel, and livestreaming, have originated from my annual reviews.

If you want to learn more about exactly how I conduct my reviews, I have an annual review checklist members can read for free. (If this is old news to you, let me know how the annual reviews work out!)

Notent Notables

December has been a busy month!

Readwise launched their new Reader app into public beta for all Readwise subscribers. I walked through my workflow and how Reader has changed the way I interact with information.

Obsidian also launched a new Canvas plugin, similar to other infinite canvas apps like Miro/Mural/Whiteboard/etc. Here's a quick walkthrough.

For Your Enjoyment

I've been experimenting with Obsidian Canvas as a way to map out my current priorities using a model I'm calling an 'orbit chart'. In my most recent livestream, I test drive this idea in Canvas, plus we get into a side conversation about toxic productivity.

Here to Help

I can help you in three ways on your productivity journey when you’re ready:

  1. Have a question about your system or productivity concept and need help? Ask it here.
  2. Wanting to level up your Obsidian skills? Check out Obsidian Made Simple.
  3. Looking to streamline your PKM workflow? Get a 60 day free trial of Readwise.

That’s all for this week. Until next time, stay effective!

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