Are You Thinking of 2016 Yet? How to Reflect and Plan

It’s already November. I hope you are beginning to reflect on this year and plan for the one ahead. I want to share the three steps I am taking to close out 2015 and begin 2016.

reflect and plan

Block Time to Reflect and Plan

I recently heard Alan Mulally speak. He is the former CEO of Boeing and the man responsible for saving Ford Motor Company during the 2008 crash—possibly the best leader I have ever heard. He posed a pressing question all busy leaders must face, “How do I balance family and work?” And answered, “Simple. Put them on your calendar.”

He assumed of course we have a calendar, and we utilize it. We must block time for anything of importance to us, whether it is our family, work, vacation, rest—or time reflect and plan. When calendaring time for year-end reflection and planning, should you block an afternoon in December? A whole week alone in a cabin somewhere? Well, both sound good. However, I encourage you to discover what works best for you.

Regardless of what I decide each year, I literally block the time on my calendar. Consider doing that right after you read this article. I have experimented with different methods. My approach may change from year to year depending on my family and work responsibilities. This year, I am planning to block two hours every week until the end of the year and two full days in December.

Reflect on 2015

Once you’ve blocked the time, my suggestion is to begin reflecting on 2015. Go through your calendar (and your journal if you keep one) beginning in January and list each significant event. You can decide what significant means to you. It could be people you met, events you attended, or life issues that arose. What went well for you? What was difficult? What was painful? The reason we review is not to reminisce but to learn. What lessons can you garner from each experience?

If you are a person of faith like me, spend time in prayer, thank God for what He taught you, for the blessings you have received. Affirm your faith and trust in Him. Also, revisit the goals you had set for 2015. What did you accomplish? What remains unfinished? And why? Record these items as well.

Plan for 2016

The second part of your blocked time must be dedicated to planning for 2016. Outline your goals for next year: relationally, for your family, career, personal growth, and your leadership. Make a plan for how often you will review these goals as the next year rolls around. I recommend a weekly review. Block time on your calendar for it in 2016.

I will turn 40 this January 3rd. The big 4-0. Wow. Life is moving on, and I feel the urgency to be more intentional with the time I still have on earth. So during my end-of-the-year evaluation, I will take it a step further to review the last decade of my life and plan out the next.

Regardless of what is important in your life to ponder now, I encourage you to take advantage of the end of the year to reflect and plan. Schedule time on your calendar, and keep it like an appointment with yourself. Twitter_logo_blue

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

How to Create a Year-End Self-Review
The Hardest Question Regarding Time Management

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