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Review, Reflect and Move Forward

As we race toward the end of another calendar year and begin to plan for the start of a new one, it’s important to pause and take stock of what’s happened in the last year. Progress is integral to our successes and survival, but sometimes that inertia deprives us of both learning opportunities and savoring life’s best moments. Before this year ends and the new one begins, here are some suggestions for ensuring we grab onto both.

Review and reflect. Many of us look at our jammed-packed calendars with resentment, all those little increments of time stolen. Often true! But our calendars also provide us with a record of what we did and did not do with our time. Find a few minutes before the end of the year to look through 2021’s appointments to remind yourself of what happened. Each week, look for:

  • Accomplishments! Very important. Do not rob yourself of the pats on the back you deserve.
  • Areas of focus. What took up the bulk of your time? Which paid the best dividends and which investments of time were unwarranted?
  • Accomplices. With whom did you spend the most time? Were they the right people for the situation—both professionally and personally?

It’s important to not be too hard on ourselves as we go through this exercise of reflection. What’s done is done and we were—at each moment—no doubt doing our best. Review, reflect, and move on.

MAP(s) it out. Guess what: Chances are we are going to be in this same situation again in 12 months, so let’s plan ahead by recording what we do as we do it. It is doable! Pick a time each week, every Friday morning, for example, to write down just one or two words for each:

  • Major area(s) of focus
  • Accomplishments, large and small
  • People with whom you spent the most time, and
  • Setbacks, large and small

For example:

  • Major area(s) of focus: budget and new partnership opportunity
  • Accomplishment: the annual report completed
  • People with whom I spent the most time: HR director (work)/kids (persona)
  • Setback, large and small: top candidate declined our offer, missed a workout

Keeping it simple is key! Putting pressure on ourselves to write insightful and thorough logs of everything we do is the surest way to ensure we never do it. Who needs that kind of anxiety?

Here’s to a Happy 2022—and 2023!


This article was originally published here.

Douglas Spencer

Douglas Spencer is founder and president of Spencer Brenneman and an independent consultant with the 2GO Advisory Group. Douglas is a brand strategist who helps mission-driven organizations reframe their focus and remaster their messaging to thrive in any environment. He has more than 30 years of branding and marketing experience, working with professionals from around the world in verticals such as financial and professional services, high tech, higher education, healthcare, and not-for-profits. He has worked with professionals from around the world in verticals such as financial and professional services, healthcare, biotech, media, and nonprofit. Before starting Spencer Brenneman he was most recently Vice President, Global Head of Brand Management for Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of intelligent information with offices in more than 100 countries worldwide. In that role, he guided the migration of the multiple Thomson and Reuters businesses to form the new Thomson Reuters brand which consistently ranked within the top 50 of Interbrand's Best Global Brands survey. Douglas is also the author of Do They Care, a book that shows business leaders how they can create meaningful connections with customers, employees, and others. He is a frequent speaker on how strong brands improve business performance through strategic alignment, employee engagement, brand governance, verbal and visual identities and more.

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