Plan your life in 3’s part 3: retrospective

In my original post on planning your life in 3’s, I outlined a general framework for self-improvement by creating quarterly goals for yourself. In part 2, I went into the details of how to successfully execute your quarterly plan. This final post on the topic will outline how I review my results after the quarter has ended and how it ties into the next quarter of planning.

Expectations vs. reality

At the end of the quarter, it’s time to review your original plan and compare it to your actual results. Likely, some things didn’t go according to plan but that’s okay! Now’s the opportunity to reflect on why that was the case and how to improve the gap between your expectations and reality moving forward.

If you fully followed through on something, give it a check. If you didn’t do something at all, leave an “X” next to it. If you partially completed something, indicate what percent you think you got done. For instance, I left 50% next to my goal of writing this blog since I only ended up writing 6 pieces out of the 12 I expected to 😅

Make notes next to certain goals where the details may have changed or indicating why something didn’t get done at all. For example, instead of building a shed I ended up building a pergola so I made a note about that.

Grade yourself

After briefly reviewing your original plan and comparing it to your results, on a different piece of paper create 3 sections for health, wealth, and wisdom. In each section, write 3 bullet points for the following:

  1. Positive: What went well?
  2. Negative: What didn’t go well?
  3. Action: What can you do next quarter to improve?

At the top of each section, I also like to give an “arrow” grade indicating a general sense of whether I did better, worse, or the same with that pillar of my life compared to the previous quarter. This can help guide you with what aspects of your life you may be neglecting or focusing too much on when you plan for the next quarter.

Here’s what it should look like when you’re done with this exercise:

Take time off

Don’t skip this step! Surprisingly, being productive can become a habit that is difficult to turn off. But if you don’t take a break, you will eventually crash and burn.

My quarters are planned in such a way that they end on the 20th of the month and I don’t start executing the plan for my next quarter until the first of the next month. This leaves me with roughly 10 days to relax and I definitely find that I’m re-energized to get back to the grind by the end of it.

This is my last blog of the quarter and I’m taking a break for a couple months. Writing a blog is a lot more work than I expected but I’m happy I experimented with it. I have no desire to be a full-time blogger and there are other things I want to work on but I think I will keep at it at least on a quarterly basis. When I return to writing, new posts will no longer be on Medium. Instead, I will be posting to my own personal site — I will link it here when it’s finished!

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Jeff Cannon

Jeff Cannon

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Creator of https://stringtheory.us — Premium lacrosse stringing made easy. See what else I’m working on at https://jeffcannon.dev/