Annual Review: Regular Pulse Check for Yourself

guide Feb 27, 2020

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

Annual Review: Categories and Examples
Annual Review: Categories and Examples

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:

Annual Review Template: An Entire Year on One Page
Annual Review Template: An Entire Year on One Page

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?’
Annual Review: Trend Analysis After Multiple Periods
Annual Review: Trend Analysis After Multiple Periods

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.

Additional Resources


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