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Think about it… if you had to be cross country in a very limited amount of time for a very important event, would you set out without a plan? Without knowing the address of where you were going and the most direct route? Would you “wing it?” Or would you plot your course on a map or with a GPS?

Obviously, those questions are somewhat rhetorical. The right answer is obvious. Yet, that being the case, why do we not always – or not consistently – apply the same principles to our own lives?

If one of your goals for 2017 is to increase productivity, the first area you need to address is the big picture of your life. This includes your goals and dreams and the plan(s) you will use to achieve them.

Once you have this process mastered, you can replicate it for every aspect you want to improve including productivity, organization, personal success, professional success, and more.

At the end of one year or the beginning of the next, we inevitably look back at what we’ve accomplished and what we haven’t; those goals we’ve achieved and those we didn’t cross off our list.

This reflection is an important part of growth and progress. And it’s a vital part of our ability to increase productivity in the future.

To increase productivity in 2017, we must know where we’ve been to know where we are going. Yet, it’s vital to do this wisely and with intention.

In looking back on your past year, ask yourself these questions:

  • What was my #1 goal for the year? (Even if you didn’t write this down or consider it consciously, think back to the biggest thing you had hoped to accomplish.)
  • Did I achieve that goal? If so, how? To what extent?
  • What other things did I want to do in my personal and professional lives?
  • Did I achieve those goals? If so, how? To what extent?
  • What was my “why” for these goals? Why were they important to me?
  • What did I do well in the process of achieving these goals? What were the highlights? Why or how did these things go right?
  • What mistakes did I make this past year that I don’t want to repeat? How can I avoid them in the future?
  • Who did I help accomplish their goals? How?
  • Who did I let down this past year? How? Why?
  • What is one thing about this past year I would love to be able to re-do?

Conscious retrospection will tell you so much. It’s not just about rumination and it’s definitely not about regret. It’s about insight and understanding and learning from the past to shape the future.

Thus, the next integral part of our future success and ability to increase our productivity, is using the information gleaned in our reflections to create a new plan for this point forward.



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