2016 Year-End Retreat

Most years as December approaches I start to work out when I’m going to take a few days for an annual process I really enjoy: the year-end look-back/plan-forward exercise. This activity is really quite simple in execution, but challenging in getting honest, quality responses down and then being realistic yet stretching me for the year ahead.

For years, my tool of choice to record this effort has been Scrivener, and this year was no exception. Although I do lightly tweak the template I use, I try to keep the topic substance about the same from year to year so I can compare back years if necessary.

In years past, I’ve used flip charts, big white boards, or just pads to do the thinking that leads to what ends up in the template. This year, perhaps because I’ve done this often enough where the process is more familiar, or the time spent thinking about it got me ready earlier than usual, I did the entire exercise using a Field Notes Steno notebook and my MacBook Air. Remembering back to the first year I did this when I had lots of flip chart sheets up all over walls, I love the simplicity and focus I’ve evolved in doing this year-end recap.

I’ve snagged some screen shots below that show the skeleton of the process and one sample page from my file. I think it’s pretty clear from there how it works. So I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking, but feel free to post any questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to discuss things further! And if you’re wondering if it’s too late to launch your own, it’s not. Have a go!

For those who have Scrivener, you can grab my template here if you’d like to follow my workflow or modify as you need.