You Need a Quarterly Review

In this post I’ll tell you what a quarterly review is and why you need one.

Why do I need one?

Most of us are so deeply concerned with running our life on a day-to-day basis that we forget about the long term. What is it that you are trying to achieve, exactly?

Being productive every day feels great, but what are you really working towards? This kind of question should not be relegated to the back burner, it should be something we answer more often than we currently do. At the same time, however, we do still need to run our day-to-day affairs.

Extreme focus on the short term causes long-term blindness. Extreme focus on the long-term causes short-term blindness. We should aim to strike a balance, where we can still run our daily life while also being concerned about where the road is going.

For me, this balance is provided by performing a general review of my life every three months. I will now show you what this review looks like.

Got it. What should I do?

Every review, I answer a series of questions about the three months that passed and the three months that will follow. This allows me to evaluate my performance in the past and make changes in the future, to better align myself with my long-term goals.

This is what some sample questions would look like (click or tap to expand):

Of course, the questions vary from person to person, and I would highly recommend, in fact, you have to take the time to think about them. Coming up with your own questions is very much part of the process of understanding your medium- and long-term self.

I like to make categories first, and then to come up with questions related to such categories. This is why I used a mind map (done with the excellent mind-mapping software MindNode,) as it allows me to visually branch out categories and questions.

Every question about the past three months is paired with a question about the next. This is crucial, as performing a quarterly review without thinking about how one could be better in the future is not that useful.

Make a bunch of questions, and make yourself sit down to answer them every three months. You’ll be surprised at its effectiveness.