Reflect, Recharge, & Refocus

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.

Margaret J. Wheatley

For many of us, work is slowing down, and we are wishing our coworkers well as they begin their end-of-year vacations. Now is a good time to reflect on what you have accomplished over the last 12 months and think about your goals as we enter a new year.

Whether you are a project manager or not, take a moment to ask yourself these questions. As a project manager, you can send these questions to your team members for them to consider on their own time.

  • Goals – What were my goals this year, both personal and professional? Which ones did I accomplish? Where did I fall short? How did I achieve my goals, or why did I not achieve them? Were my goals challenging enough? Were they the right goals? Did I have too many or too few?
  • Relationships – What new people did I meet this year? How did I cultivate those relationships? Did I keep in touch with former colleagues? To whom should I reach out before the end of the year to say hello and reconnect? Is there anyone else I should add to my network?
  • Learnings – What new knowledge or skills did I learn this year? How did I apply those new capabilities to my work? Can I take any of those learnings home to use in my personal life? Were there any skills that I could have used this year that I should focus on acquiring next year?
  • Career – How did the goals I achieved, the relationships I built, and the skills I learned contribute to my overall career? Where do I want to go next in my career? What experiences, relationships, or knowledge do I need in order to get there? How can I set myself up for success next year so that I remain on (or get onto) the right career path?
  • Me Time – Do I make enough time for myself outside of work? Am I able to spend enough time with family and friends? Do I make time for the hobbies I enjoy? Have I stepped away from work and taken a real vacation? Do I take time throughout the year to reflect, recharge, and refocus? Am I happy?

Lots of questions, I know. (I like to ask questions, remember?!)

Find some “me time” to really think about these questions. Answer them honestly and without judgment so that you can truly reflect on what you did, what worked well, and what you can do better in 2016. Like any process or activity, you should always look to learn from your experiences, as it is the only way to grow both personally and professionally. Think of it as continuous improvement for the soul!

And with that, I wish you all a very Happy New Year! I will see you in 2016!

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