I’m gathering my data from this past year to prepare for my strategy for next year. I gather quantitative data about books, workshops, talks, and more. I assess my feelings as I finished my various work—the qualitative data. And, I note what I didn’t do.
I gather this data every quarter.
I actually note what I don’t do every month. Otherwise, that work gets away from me and I never do it. I might decide to put that work on the “Never” list. I want to be conscious about that decision.
All of this data helps me reflect on the past year and plan for the next year.
I also reflect more frequently for smaller planning. I gather different data for that replanning:
- My word counts across my various publishing options. (What am I writing and how much of it? What am I not writing?)
- The requests I’ve received for other offerings. (Do people want something different from me?)
- The questions people ask me. (What do people struggle with in their work or lives?)
I’m a one-person company by design. I reflect weekly. That means I can replan at least weekly. I often replan what I deliver on a given day.
Because I review monthly and quarterly, I can reassess my choices. (I’d like to think I exhibit business agility. Hehehe.)
You don’t have to be a consultant or to own a business to reflect as often as I do.
Here are some granular ways I’ve used to reflect:
- Journal or write something every day. Anything you write as a reflection might help you decide what to do next.
- Gather data about what you deliver every day. You might also gather that data weekly.
- I write about questions people ask me or what I see at my clients. I see what people respond to.
When I reflect at the granular level, I need to roll that up. When I reflect at the month/quarter times, I need to break that down.
I need both kinds of reflection to create a sufficient plan for the year. Even then, I use rolling wave planning to continually deliver and refine the plan.
As we approach New Year’s, many of you will create resolutions. I don’t believe in resolutions. Instead of a resolution, consider gathering your data and then creating the smallest possible plan. How little can you do to deliver something (change a habit, create a new habit), reflect on it, and then replan?
This works for organizations, also. In my experience, people have trouble moving to “how little” thinking. We tend to think of how much we can do. When I switched to how little but more continuously, my output increased dramatically. (I had an email conversation with someone who thought I wrote a lot. I write fewer words every day than I want to. However, I write a little every day. That allows me to progress every year.
I use this question for almost all my work every year:
What should I stop doing because I have better or different options?
You might like that question, too. I find it helps me reflect more often and then (re)plan better.
The question this week is: How often do you reflect?
- How Do You Feel When You Achieve a Significant Milestone?
- Who Is Part of Your Support System?