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How to do a Quarterly Review

There is a profound and significant difference between having clarity on your year goals, and having equal clarity on the progress you will make in the next quarter. We tend to overestimate what we can get done in three weeks, but we underestimate what we can achieve in three months. To capitalise on this, you need to build the habit of quarterly goal setting AND quarterly reviews.

I feel most of us appreciate the value of reflection, and yet so few of us reflect on our own progress or experience enough. Thoughtful examination of your world on a regular basis can only put you in a better position, and help you improve your experience. This is true not only in respect of your goals, but your life as a whole. As the psychologist, Dan Gilbert writes, “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”

So at the end of each quarter (some point in the first week of every January, April, July and October) create a meeting with yourself of no less than one hour (ideally more) where you will be uninterrupted, to do your own quarterly review. Grab a pen and paper and answer the following 5 questions:

The 5 Questions to ask on your quarterly review:

  1. What has gone well?
    • Highlights, key accomplishments, and experience you enjoyed the most? (it’s worth getting your calendar out for this)
What has not gone as well as you had hoped?
    • Challenges, hurdles, and what’s been difficult?
  3. What (else) have you learned?
    • Other observations, changes or developments?

  4. What (if anything) is missing?
    • What else is important to you, or is there anything of note that has not yet come up?
  5. What do you now need, or want, to change?
    • What could you now do more of or less of, or start or stop doing, to improve your experience?
    • For this questions it’s worth reviewing all your answers so far, and then brainstorming any changes you could make. What behaviours or habits could you change to make your next three months even better?

At the end of your quarterly review you should have lots of insights and plenty of changes you could now make. Choose your top 3-5 initial priorities (be realistic), and then either calendarise them, or create a new routine that ensures you make the changes you want. Easier to start small and build on your success than expect you’ll change everything overnight.

These 5 questions, answered every 3 months, will give you valuable perspective and insights, and help you make any changes you want, and I can guarantee you’ll be in a better position than if you don’t. See this process as an experiment with the most interesting of subjects: yourself.

Enjoy – and if you have any questions about the above, please get in touch.


3 point review:

  • Ensure you always have clarity on your quarterly goals – specifically what progress on what goals will you have made by the end of this quarter?
  • The first week of every new quarter, do a quarterly review answering the 5 questions above
  • Make any changes you wish based on your reflections and your priorities

For more tips, check out The Brain Book. It’s packed full of techniques to help you get more from your brain every day.

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