Over the next few weeks you will read blogs, newspaper articles and endure hours of TV coverage talking about the year that’s just about to end/gone and what the writer or presenter has learned over the previous 12 months.
Welcome to the season of the annual review.
If you want to save yourself a lot of time, I can reveal to you exactly what these annual reviews will have discovered – some things will have gone well and other things have not gone so well. There will be analysis of why things worked out the way they did and maybe the odd photograph from some far flung place to prove the story.
There you go, that paragraph alone will have saved you a huge amount of time. So instead of focusing on reading other peoples reviews, you can read this and make 2012 your most productive year yet.
Interest in annual reviews is in its own way a voyeuristic pleasure. Most people read or watch them with the dim hope that the stories that they write or talk about will be a tad less interesting than their own and that their own years were much more successful.
But that’s about it, because how do these reviews help you?
Generally, other people’s reviews don’t help you. Because whilst you may learn something interesting, or maybe you take some secret pleasure from other people’s failures, or harbour a pang of jealously over the success they’ve achieved, it’s unlikely that you will read or hear something which will specifically relate to your own situation.
And that’s a big problem.
Too much information out there is general in nature and that is of little use to you or at a time when you need it.
So here’s one lesson that you can learn from annual reviews which will work for you:
Don’t do them.
Although most people generally hold reviews annually, it’s too long between setting your goals and then tracking your progress towards achieving them.
Another issue is that people set themselves or their businesses goals over a 12 month period, which happens to be because it’s a convenient time measure, but for some goals it may be too long a time period and it assumes that businesses or your life fits into a neat 12 month time segment.
So, instead focus on weekly reviews.
Simply undertake the activity that you would normally do once a year, each week. Reviewing the activities that you have completed in the previous week and then determine how much closer they take you to your business goals.
Then identify the new tasks which need to be completed in the next 7 days which will take you a little nearer your goals. Then add these tasks onto your task list.
By completing reviews on a weekly basis, not only will you ensure that you stay focused on achieving your goals, you can also fine tune the tasks and activities you need to make to ensure your goals are delivered. Checking the weekly tasks off will give you a sense of achievement to the larger goal.
I personally set myself 2 hours each Friday afternoon to work through my progress in each of my projects, identifying what the next actions are I need to do to complete each of them. I break each of my goals down into a series of small projects to make it even easier to achieve my objectives. The tasks I complete on a daily basis come about from completing these weekly reviews.
If you want to acheive more success in your goals in 2012 forget about annual reviews focus on weekly reviews instead.
So what about you? What lessons have you learned from completing annual reviews?