I was intrigued by this post by fellow memorist Theo Pauline Nestor, where she describes how she completes an annual review to get a better idea of how she’s spent her time over the course of the year and how much she has (or hasn’t) accomplished. Yesterday morning, I decided to give it a try…
…and it changed my ENTIRE PERSPECTIVE on 2011. I know, I know…sounds like an exaggeration. I promise, it’s not. Here’s why:
Steve and I have had a…well, adventurous year. The highs were fun and breathtaking, but a couple of lows really knocked it out of us, leaving us a bit banged up.
Like most people, what I tend to remember most are not the wins, but the crashes: the days spent picking dirt out of our teeth and checking for broken bones. And as far as my writing goes (which is, technically at least, my job) my tendency is to sum it up in a quick sentence: I did not sell a new project to a publisher, therefore the year was a failure.
Sounds stark, right? But I don’t think I’m alone in jumping to the the single-sentence, lowest possible basic summary approach when evaluating. This is why Theo’s annual review questions were so helpful. As I did them, I was forced to look at a full year of incredibly hard, good, valuable work. I made huge strides in my career this year, along with tons of fun and unexpected professional connections. Yes, we started a non-profit that got shot out of the air like a duck in hunting season, but I also started a teaching/consulting business that has taken off, opened surprising new doors I didn’t anticipate, and inspired me to write. And I’ve laid the foundation for some exciting projects for 2012. SUCH a helpful shift in perspective! The review took me about an hour, but it was worth it… I’ve felt encouraged ever since.
I’d recommend this idea for ANYONE who has a job where time is fluid (writers, moms, my home schooling friends, entrepreneurs, students, 9-to-5-ers working toward a goal outside your job) It’s easy to lose track of where your days go, and let the negatives captivate your memory. This gives you a way to push back, see how much you’ve accomplished, and set real goals for the months to come.
Want to try? I’ve suggested some review questions in the post below.