Is that time of the year where even the most carefree people are struck with a wave of panic. There are typically 3 levels of reaction as we peel the onion to analyse the feeling.
Level 1 – What?
‘Oh dear, what have I done for the year?’ One just realized we are near the end of the year.
Level 2 – How?
‘Have you wondered how much time in a day you are doing what you enjoy? It’s the end of the year and Christmas season again!’ One is wondering about the quality of the year we just had.
Level 3 – Why?
‘Sometimes, it’s not about how we spent the time and if we had enjoyed or not. It is about whether it is worthwhile and for whom?’ Life is not a race, why are we so busy? Have I got my priorities right and if my year is well-spent?
The above is an interesting sentiment that many of us have near the end of the year. Increasing technology is here to assist. Here are a few examples that come to mind:
‘1 Second Everyday’ is a mobile app that allows one to capture a one-second video every day and stitch them together to tell one’s story at the end of the year. Some people like it as it enforces discipline and mindfulness about how one spends the day to record a worthy moment.
Facebook has a feature called ‘year in review’ where one can initiate the compilation of the memories for the year.
Spotify has an equivalent ‘year in review’ feature where it gives you a first-hand report of what you listened to most, in terms of the artists, songs, playlists, genres and total time spent compared to the year before, etc.
First of all, these ways seem to be brilliant ideas to record, document and present insights for the year in review. Furthermore, the information is pushed to us with visually pleasing templates designed by the technology providers. Finally, the tools save us time to sort, organize and analyse the information. However, the insight is only as good as what data we had supplied and how often we engaged the platform. Therefore, summing the silo views only provides us a partial perspective. While they address the ‘what’, they hardly answer the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions.
Rather, what we need is a more holistic and big picture of the year. My approach is to reflect and recollect my year using a visual technique through collage and journaling. The focus is on the highlights of the year rather than every activity. Besides, the recollection is divided into 6 categories for self-reflection (see my blog Reflection before New Year Resolution). Essentially, it is easier to track the milestones against the priorities. Finally, this approach helps me to discover, affirm and formulate my transformation agenda.
Consequently, year-end reflection using the above approach leads me to a journey of soul searching. It has not only nourished my soul but also helped me to answer the top-of-mind question that I have – if my year is a year well spent!