In 2012 I did my first annual review.
Since then, every year – usually around Christmas/New Year – I sit down to review and reflect on the past year.
- Annual reviews give an opportunity to slow down, take measure and to see if you are making progress towards your goals
- After doing it for a couple of years I use it to identify trends + areas for further improvement
Format of the Annual Review
In 2011, my friend Julian forwarded me a blog post, which talks about annual reviews (unfortunately I can’t find the original blog post)
The format is straight forward. I use the following sections
One item I added on top was a personal timeline. Here I capture notable events (trips; milestones; etc.).
After filling out the various sections I assign a score from 1 (worst) to 10 (best). There is no particular guidance on this since it is a subjective snapshot.
This is what my annual review sheet looks like:
After doing this exercise for 7 years (2012 – 2019) I considered updating the scores from previous years but during a discussion with my girlfriend she brought up a valid point: it’s always a snapshot of how I felt back then, hence the numbers shouldn’t be updated.
Also, it’s always a relative measure. The first time I received a salary as an adult can be a ‘9’ as well as receiving a lump sum (inheritance; exit; etc.). Always relative. I just see how it feels during the audit and assign a score.
Analysing and Comparing Multiple Reviews
After doing an annual review for a couple of years I can compare the periods/years amongst each other to:
- Identify Trends: Improving/Worsening
- Identify Focus: See which areas tend to be better/worse than average –> ask ‘why?’
Anything I feel needs more work/improvement I would prioritize in my next list of 39 goals.
The comparison is usually done in a simple google sheet.
Annual Review Allows for Course Correction
Doing annual reviews gives a regular touchpoint to identify what’s going well and what is not.
- The Ultimate Annual Review (Steve Schlafmann)
- How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review (Chris Guillebeau)
- Annual Reviews (James Clear)