Without some of the usual markers of the changing seasons and the passing of time, being as we are still in a pandemic, it can feel hard to keep tabs on time. My gut feeling says we’re somewhere in spring still… but it’s actually 6 whole months into 2021. And if you follow the rule of 90 day or 12 week years that’s so popular, it’s the end of quarter 2.
That’s a good time for a small review!
Part 1: How to do the review
If you search for it, there are hundreds of different formats for reviews you can find online. I’ve done a lot of them!
But they all boil down to a basic formula: Review your past goals (if any), review how the quarter(s) went, ask insightful questions, and plan the future. Your individual needs will vary by your situation.
For myself, I didn’t need a super lengthy review process with a ton of questions, but I did want to make sure I was actually looking at how I’ve spent my last six months carefully. I
f you don’t examine it, you’re just begging for it to go on the same as before (which could be good or bad!)
Review Past Goals
I started with refreshing myself on what my year goals were that I set out at the beginning of 2021. It was interesting seeing what still felt relevant and what had morphed naturally as the year went on.
Review how the Quarter went
Then to examine the past six months, I used my databases in Notion because I’ve logged things like daily journal entries, to-dos, and habit checklists there.
Next I skimmed my journal entries, looked at what additions I’d made to databases for “Disappointments” and “Successes”
Ask Insightful Questions
- Did I finish the projects and goals I set out to?
- For each project or goal not reached:
- Is it failed, and if so what can I learn from it?
- Is it displaced, either still in progress or pushed to a backburner?
- Is it no longer in line with my priorities?
- What new projects or goals emerged?
- For each project or goal not reached:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What changes should I make to my plan or approach?
Plan for the Future
Using the insights and information above, what should my priorities be for this quarter?
How can I go about reaching these goals?
Part 2: My Review
Reviewing Existing Goals & Reviewing what happened
The first part of my review is looking back at the goals I set in January 2021 and seeing where I am with each of those.
Treating Chronic Migraines – My biggest goal for this year was to focus on treating my chronic migraines. This project isn’t done because my migraines are not completely cured. But I’ve made progress and it will continue to be a main focus.
I’ve started a daily medication which seems to help, but it comes with its own side effects to deal with.
Looking ahead to the next quarter, I’ve decided to cut down on sugar and see if that helps.
Create a Children’s Book – One of my other goals was to work on my children’s book idea and get that self published. This goal completely fell by the wayside and is now on the backburner.
I think that’s a good thing because I’m able to use the time to practice my art and focus even more on my migraines and health.
For the coming quarter I’m going to continue exploring art in a less structured way and come back to the children’s book after getting a better hold on my migraines.
Get My Driver’s License – I also wanted to get my driver’s license – something I’ve never had to do because of having abundant public transportation in town, but that now occasionally is a hassle.
I’ve also been battling some anxiety due to past bad experiences in cars.
I’ve been able to get practice in on weekends, but am not really much closer to scheduling an exam.
Design and Sell Merchandise – I thought it would be fun to set up a shop and design merchandise for it. I made a lot of progress in January setting up the back end to run the print-on-demand shop inside of wordpress.
But so far I have been just collecting lots of design ideas and not making them! The ideas are all stuck in preliminary stages.
Get Better at Running and Fitness – I just assumed I would keep getting better and better at running and be able to run farther and faster. My goal has been to do a “real” 5k, so I’ve thought that my goal is getting faster and better at it. In reality, my progress has been up and down with my migraines, with some weeks lately where I have been mostly in bed. This is a little disappointing, even though I know I have a good “reason” or “excuse” to not be where I imagined, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated.
In all I feel a little disappointed in not making as much headway as I would have liked on all of my goals and projects.
But when I look at my Notion databases and journals for what I did complete it helps me understand where my time went, and lets me evaluate what I can learn from that.
What else Happened
Next I looked at everything that happened that wasn’t directly related to a goal I set in January:
Reading a Lot of Books – One of the things I found is that I’ve read 69 books since January 1st – not counting art books or children’s books. 37 of them were fiction and 32 non-fiction.
Foreign Language Learning – I’m on Streak Day 275 in Duolingo. I’ve used a lot of streak freezes, but still that’s a lot of time learning French (first 100+ days) and practicing Spanish. It’s true that 5-15 minutes per day adds up!
Learning Parenting Strategies – We joined a parenting group and have been working on our parenting strategies. This project emerged after our daughter turned 4 and entered into a new developmental phase. The polite way of saying we were at our wits’ end!
This has taken the form of a lot of videos, a few books, and lots of practice.
Major Home Decluttering and Reorganization – I’ve been able to get rid of MANY car loads of stuff after going through tons of the stuff crammed into our house. I got rid of most of Ruby’s baby clothes (Yes, I still had ALL of her outfits ever!) and a lot of her outgrown toys and “stuff” – babies come with TONS of stuff! I also purged lots of my own stash of clothes, shoes, makeup, decor, memorabilia, etc.
It’s helped make room for me to try to organize what we DO need and use for better ease of use. In all this project has been a lot of work but I’m really happy with the results so far.
I think for me, a recovering almost-hoarder, it is a process that is never truly DONE and I’ll have to keep coming at it season after season and year after year to keep paring down to the essentials.
Website Redesign and Blogging – At some point in the first six months of this year I got very upset with this website as it was and tore down most of the pages, putting up an “Under Construction” sign instead. Though that is still up, I’ve done a little work redoing the blog and trying to understand what I want to make happen here next.
I’ve also blogged a few times, but I have lots more unpublished articles I need to go through and post.
Planning for the Future
At this point in my review I decided how I would try to course correct on existing goals for the rest of the year.
I also set new goals, including a couple monthly challenges like Nanowrimo.
And now it’s just a matter of living it out!
In summary, I feel like I’ve done a good job focusing my time on things that I care about and not wasting it.
I’ve been able to mostly avoid a number of usual time wasters just because it’s not part of my routine: television, mobile games, facebook.
It is a little disappointing not to accomplish everything I set out to, but it seems that my priorities changed a bit as the year went on.
In my experience, the review process is essential in being conscious to what’s actually happening and whether we’re moving closer to our goals and where we’re struggling.
Do you do a quarter or semi-annual review process? Let me know if you find it as helpful as I do!