[Sharing this as a forum post because it may be useful for some forum users - mostly a copy and paste of a social media post]

🤔 Are you looking for a way to review your year and plan for the future?

Many people I know do an "annual review".

When I started in 2018, I couldn't find a ready-made document to use.

With that in mind, I am sharing this annual review/planner template that I made in google sheets.

It incorporates Alex Vermeer's questions (https://lnkd.in/gFmp4MX). I also a few of my own and some additional sheets to add goals and plans for the future.

Based on feedback, I have also prioritised the sheet so that you can choose how many questions you want it to be.

It might still seem too long. Feel free to start with smaller - anything is better than nothing!

Please feel free to copy, share and modify it.


Annual review template and explainer video




Over the past few years, I have also used a 'daily tracker' sheet to help track the goals and outcomes I plan each year. The feedback on that is that it is a bit complicated, but feel free to check it out and use it to make something simpler!


Daily tracker template and explainer video




Does all of this reflection and tracking help? 

I think it does. I feel that it has given me huge rewards over the last few years.

Of course this approach won't work for everyone, but I think that self-monitoring, reflection and improvement are all underrated.

My perspective is that life is not unlike a startup - both are attempts to thrive in the face of uncertainty. Would you back a business that didn't do any accounting or strategy each year? I wouldn't!

Of course, you might think: I really don't have time to do this sort of self-improvement work. Fair enough, maybe you don't. I certainly didn’t for a long time.

However, my current update to having that feeling would be to wonder if I should aim to prioritize my time differently.

Committing <.033% of your year (~1 day for a review) or day (~5m to track your experiences and reflections) to self-improvement doesn’t sound very extreme. Most people put much more time into social media.

To return to my earlier analogy, if a company you were considering investing in told you that they didn’t know if this year was better than the last because they didn't have time to track and review any indicators, what would think of their priorities?

Even now, I struggle (and regret) to believe that I spent most of my life with problems (like anxiety) that I could have fixed/hugely improved if I had attended to them instead of mindlessly switching my attention to focus on whatever it was that occupied my mind at that time (e.g., socialising, working etc).

Does anyone else have a similar annual review or tracking process? Or suggestions for improvements? Or arguments against this approach? 

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Fishing for data here.

If anyone estimates what they plan do during the day and records what they actually achieved, then I'm willing to do a free analysis provided an anonymous version of the data can be made public.


Ten years of Pomodoro data: http://shape-of-code.com/2019/12/15/the-renzo-pomodoro-dataset/

From an earlier Lesswrong post: http://shape-of-code.coding-guidelines.com/2021/05/30/pomodoros-worked-during-a-day-an-analysis-of-alexs-data/

A connection between the brain's number systems and estimating: https://shape-of-code.com/2021/09/26/the-approximate-number-system-and-software-estimating/