The end of the year is a great time for real reflection, which can actually be surprisingly powerful in learning and developing (whether you define that as being better at work, at home being happier or more fulfilled etc).
Sure you say, I know that and I’ll reflect at some point, on the train home one day or one evening on the sofa perhaps. But REAL useful reflection ought to be a bit more deliberate than that. I think the following steps can all help:
- It can help a lot if it is guided in some way (for example around a specific set of questions that you answer one by one before moving on) . Don’t overthink the questions though, quick-fire is your friend here
- Actually writing answers down provides a fascinating record to come back to and – if you’re anything like me- might give you a chance of remembering it more than 5 minutes later.
- Doing it with others, and revealing your answers can be really helpful in actually internalizing the thoughts, and following through on any actions, and deepening out the insights through a bit of discussion (now I know it might not be everyone’s idea of fun at the christmas lunch table … but humour me)
So here’s my favourite questions to spark off a bit of a retrospective this year on both a professional and personal level – I’d love to hear any ideas you have! The questions are deliberately designed to be a little open ended and spark off ideas so don’t over-think the question, just go with quick responses that come to mind.
- Name your top 2 or 3 professional highlights of the year
- What were your 2 or 3 professional lowlights of the year?
- What’s that one thing you just didn’t quite manage to get done this year?
- Which project or piece of work pushed you the most during the year?
- What book or blog most changed your perspective this year?
- What’s one thing that you changed your mind on at work this year?
- What’s the one thing that surprised you the most?
- What got you the most frustrated this year?
- Which colleague or professional contact did you really build a relationship with this year?
- What is one thing you learnt this year?
And from a personal perspective:
- Which people have you most enjoyed spending time with this year?
- Which activities most made you feel “off the clock” where you lost track of time?
- Which moments from the year will you remember in 10 years time?
- What thing (however small) have you made or built this year that will stand the test of time?
- What made you most proud this year?
- What’s that thing you were hoping to do this year but just didn’t get round to it?
- What made you laugh the most this year?
- Which of your hobbies or pastimes gave you most satisfaction this year?
- Which place that you visited had the biggest impact on you?
- With whom have you really developed your relationship this year?