Q1 2021 Review - How I make sure I'm not wasting my life

Follow along and create your own quarterly report by duplicating my Notion template.

Hey there,

Three months ago I published something about this being the year I #StopBeingAfraid.

Now that I'm settled in to my new role as a Product Designer at Coin Cloud... it's time to get serious on my original commitment. Now then...

This is a courtesy email reminding you (and myself) that we're 25% done with 2021.

Do you wake up every morning excited to start the day? Are you living with intention? Or, are you sleep-walking through life, letting yourself get swept away by the demands of every-day living?

These are some of the questions I've been asking myself since the beginning of the year to make sure I'm on track. Spoiler: I'm not.

If you're happy with where you're at, great. Keep doing what you're doing.

If, like me, you're thinking “where did the time go”... it's time for a personal retrospective.

Time to reflect ✍

The end of Q1 makes this the perfect time to think about where you are and how you got here.

A retrospective is something software development teams do to build better products. You reflect on the past to improve the future. In its simplest form, you answer three questions:

  • What worked well?

  • What didn't work well?

  • What are you going to start doing differently?

This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself at the end of every quarter. The time commitment is between 20-30 minutes, depending on how detailed you get into it. Half an hour to regain your focus sounds like a great deal to me.

To minimize resistance, I've created a Notion template to get you started. All you have to do is duplicate it.

Click here to duplicate my Q1 2021 Review template

My version is a little different than the bullet list above. It's meant to keep you focused on your goals and projects, helping you work on the right things.

What is the status of my goals and projects?

This section assumes you have written goals that you review at least every week. If you don’t have written goals, let’s fix that right now.

Watch the video below to learn how I quickly capture top-of-mind outcome goals that can be converted to execution goals.

Click here to learn how to set effective goals

Now that you have some goals, let's do a quick situation report. This section can be a quick recap highlighting the status of your top three goals. Keep it short and sweet.

What's going well? What's going poorly?

This section breaks down specifically where you're succeeding (don't change what works), and where you need to supplement your efforts.

Again, keep it short and sweet. You should have no more than three bullet points.

Am I on track?

You respond with "yes" or "no". If you're on track, why? If you're not on track, what are you going to focus on next quarter to make this a "yes"?

Are my major goals still my most important goals?

This is another "yes" or "no" question. If your major goals are still the same, acknowledge them. If they're not, you will have to spend more time doing some soul searching to find out what you're going to do next.

At this point you should have a nice 500-word report reviewing the quarter. Start this process at the end of March, June, September, and December.

End-of-year reviews are another monster, but I'll have a guide for that at the end of 2021 for you to look forward to.

Upcoming projects for Q2 🎨

  • Personal brand refresh - This has been a long time coming. I've been terrible about creating my website and brand "the right way" since I've been so busy on work and freelance projects. I will be doing this in public and sharing my process along the way.

  • Las Vegas UX/UI Meetup rebrand - The Vegas community is too small to have a Meetup based around just UX Design. We're considering making the Meetup more Product-focused to educate people on the full product development life cycle. I also plan on building this in public with some of my Co-Organizers.

  • Complete 2021 website design course - I've picked up a lot of skills over the years. One of the best ones has been web design. This course will be focused on web design with WordPress, with a follow-up course in Q3 on Webflow. I'm doing WordPress first since it's still a popular framework with a mature ecosystem.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading! 🙏

If you found this update/guide helpful, please consider sharing it so others may benefit from the tactics I outlined above. This email took me quite a few hours to write, so it'd be nice if people actually read it!