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How to Conduct an Annual Review (2020 Edition!) 🗓

Every December for the past fifteen years, I've completed an exercise I call the Annual Review.

This year is different in some ways, but then again, so is every year for one reason or another. In fact, that's one of the things that's so beneficial about the Review: in the midst of whatever craziness is happening, it helps to ground your attention and give you something to work on over the next year.

This post contains an overview of the process, along with links that might be helpful for your own review. If you'd like to go waaaaay back to the original post from 2008, you can do that too. Enjoy!

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Thank you, 2020. It was terrible and wonderful.

I started writing this note by trying to take stock of a few things about this year that were good.

The process was easier than I expected. Sure, 2020 has been a dumpster fire year in many ways. But when I really stopped to think about it, it wasn't hard to identify several things in my life that wouldn't have happened were it not for the world coming to a stop.

It's always possible to find silver linings, and in a brief examination I found several.

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What Would You Say If You Could Go Back in Time?

Welcome to the beginning of the strangest year the modern world has ever known. You don't realize it now, but life as you know it is about to change drastically.

Remember how you've been talking to everyone about "working from anywhere" for the past decade? Well, now the entire workforce will be leaving their offices and telecommuting. One problem: they can't actually go anywhere. Working remotely usually implies freedom, but in this case it points to constraint. Simply put, the workforce is working remotely because it's not safe to work together.

Most of the world's borders will have closed, though if you want to visit the Maldives, you can buy an unlimited pass to a luxury hotel for all of 2021.

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Feeling Depressed in 2020? It’s Not Just You 😔

When we all went into this thing in March, I tried to remain as positive as possible. I still believe everything I said before, about how I want to come out of this time better than I was when it started, etc. We can only worry about what’s within our control. And of course, let’s try to be kind to one another.

But then the spring turned to summer, and the summer to fall (at least in my part of the world). And nothing really got better! Quite the opposite, in fact.

Now we’re all setting low expectations for standards of wellbeing. “Hope you’re hanging in there” is the new “Hope you’re doing well.” And let’s face it, lots of people aren’t doing well.

So, finally, I’ve come to the point of feeling defeated about the whole year—and I know it’s not just me.

Day-by-Day

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