My 2021 review

To me, it feels like 2021 went by super fast. At the same time, I realized just how much had happened this year when I did my annual review last week.

My annual review took me many days to complete.

The way my annual review is currently structured, I do:

  • A qualitative review of the projects I completed this year. I do this by reviewing an annual project note in Obsidian, and also my completed tasks in OmniFocus
  • A quantitative review of my finances
  • A quantitative review of how I spent my time
  • A quantitative review of select health metrics (eg. weight and body fat, heart rate variability, sleep, consistency in workouts/running)
  • A qualitative review of the core areas of my life
  • A visioning exercise for the upcoming year based on the giving yourself an A exercise from The Art of Possibility

I’d like my annual review to go faster next year. Also, I want to be review things closer to when they happened so I have more of the context fresh in my mind. To these ends, I’m planning on doing a smaller version of my annual review each month so that next year, my annual review should most involve drawing from the insights I had from all my monthly reviews that year.

One thing that surprised me this year–pretty much every single interaction I had with friends and family this year (eg. phone calls, meeting for food or projects, playing board games, going camping or hiking) got highlighted in my annual review. I think the reduced face time that comes with the COVID-19 pandemic has me really appreciating the time I do get to spend with other people.

I took a lot of new risks this year. I’ve put off getting my driver’s license for about 15 years now due to various excuses and anxieties, but this year I managed to pass my driving exam and get my novice license. I have a lot of anxiety around sports-related things and I tend to stick to things I’m familiar with, but this year I visited a bunch of new places to play volleyball which has given me new options to play in the future. And after years of thinking about it, I’ve finally stepped into the practice of coaching.

And I also stumbled upon some unexpected money. I thought that I had used up my mental health benefits earlier this year. However, I learned that this wasn’t the case when I did my annual review. I was able to submit claims for some additional therapy sessions and I got reimbursed almost $1000. It was definitely a nice Easter egg in my annual review 😻

4 thoughts on “My 2021 review

  1. Fun meta review of your annual review. And appreciated your Twitter thread of this, too.

    On duration of review, through the decades, my durations vary. And there are some years where I will create a “retreat” (2-4 days) around my review – review sprinkled in among reading (and some re-reading) books and articles, hikes, and maybe spa type time. Other times, I’ve used a template(s) and chunk my time solely for the review versus sprinkling over a few days.

    Like you, I also find interactions and relationships rising to the top. My reviews (annual and ~ quarterly) have evolved to include mindmaps of relationships. AND I create aspirational relationship mindmaps, also – reinforcing relationships, improving them, interconnecting them.

    Likewise, I have done similar mindmaps for activities in work + leisure … activities that I’ve done AND aspirational. Your mention of your novice license and volleyball reminded me of that mindmap exercise. I didn’t do so this annual review – THEREFORE, I’m going to revisit doing that particular mindmap this weekend!

    Thanks again for all you share. And excited about your coaching endeavor.

    1. Ohh, doing an extended review over a spa visit does sound more pleasant 🤤 Reflecting more on this, I find it interesting that I think this is too much time, whereas if a project at work spent this much time on planning, I might be disappointed that more planning time wasn’t used. 🤔

      As I mentioned on Twitter, I’d love to hear more about how you apply mind mapping in a review context 🙂

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