Dean's Notes (Jan 2022)

2021 in review, leverage, and start before you're ready

Happy New Year! Hope you've had a great rest during the holidays and a strong head start into 2022.

I've spent most of December:

  • Clearing up work for 2021
  • Setting up the house that I just moved in
  • Reviewing my 2021
  • Tweaking my website (e.g. book notes)
  • Updating my productivity system for 2022

Times like this make us feel a lot more productive when we finally get things organized. It's also an opportunity for us to learn from past experiences and to optimize our systems for future goals and projects.

. . .

At the end of every year, I do an annual review to wrap it up.

I usually spend a week collecting data from all sorts of channels—journals, emails, screenshots, notes, etc.—to a picture of what the past year looked like.

Then, I would spend another week highlighting incidents and events that are worth capturing. The process also helps resurface small wins that I should celebrate and cherish more of.

At the end of the review, I summarize the year by answering three simple questions:

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn't go so well?
  3. What did I learn?

If you're curious about what happened to me in 2021 or looking for inspiration to do your annual review, here's my 2021 letter of review.

That said, I haven't been reading a lot in the past month.

Instead of a new book note and a curated list of articles, I'll be sharing one of my favorite books plus a few of my past articles.

I wrote these articles at the beginning of past years—and still resonate well today. They will help you think about your life and goals in 2022.

I'd love to hear from you

What do you think about doing an annual review? Did you do/write one for 2021? If yes, what are some highlights?

I'd love to hear how you go about reviewing your year and the lessons you've learned in the past 12 months.

Simply reply to this email and let me know.

Book of the month

📚 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People↗ by Stephen Covey

Summary in 100 words or less: The three habits to develop yourself: Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and learn to prioritize what's important. The three habits to improve your relationships with others: Always think win-win, seek first to understand before to be understood, and work on synergy. Lastly, sharpen the saw by committing to lifelong learning and growth.

A couple of notes

🤔 How to Think About Your Life↗ Here are the six key areas I use when I think about my life. They are what made up the wheel of life. The objective isn't to maximize any one of them. Instead, it's to keep a balance across all key areas.

🎢 Life is a Game of Leverage and Here is How to Win It↗ Successful people seem to have an unfair advantage—that I called leverage. The truth is that you can always find leverage if you look carefully. And if you don't, create it for yourself.

🚶 Always Start Before You're Ready↗ Speaking of leverage, I believe that time is one of the biggest among all. If you ever wonder “what if I took action last year?” Stop asking yourself that very same question you’ve been asking yourself for years. Instead, start taking action now.

🔥 How to Ruin Your Life with Goal Setting↗ Here's a mental exercise: follow along with what I called "Goal Unsetting." So by the end of the year, you accomplish nothing except getting yourself to a worse place than you were before and feeling miserable.


That's it for the month!

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