📋 Yearly Life Reviews
3 min read

Stepping back, cleaning up, making changes

Like many techies/makers/engineers/<insert your flavor>, I suffer from a condition in which I endure (total) chaos in parts of my life while having a mild compulsion to over-structurize, organize and track other areas of my life 🤷‍♂️

[Alex Vermeer's 8760 hours review process](https://alexvermeer.com/8760hours/) is really exhaustive - I highly recommend it.
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Alex Vermeer’s 8760 hours review process is really exhaustive - I highly recommend it.

One of the things I’d categorize in the over-organization bucket is my Yearly Life Review, initially inspired by Alex Vermeer’s excellent 8760 hours review process. To use Alex’s words: “The end of a year is the perfect time to review one’s life, goals, plans, and projects, as well as plan for the upcoming year.”

Over the past few years, I’ve created my own version of this, as a structured check-list that I keep it in my digital brain (i.e. note-taking app :-) ). I usually start working on this intermittently starting somewhere mid-October, while spending a full week on it during an end-of-year vacation in late December.

Compared to the more open-ended 8760 hours process, my review process is more task-oriented and really a combination of reflection as well as a form of (digital) Spring Cleaning, with each task roughly falling in one of the following categories:

  1. Review and document the past: note down big life/world events, thoughts on technology, evaluate last year’s goals.
  2. Clean-up clutter: paperwork, digital identity/presence, house
  3. Get affairs in order (i.e. avoid regrets later): Review finances, insurance, health(care), take backups, house supplies, house maintenance
  4. Spend time on Big Picture Stuff™️: review life priorities, relationships, projects, make plans/resolutions

Obviously, some tasks like buying pantry supplies, taking backups and deep cleaning the house happen a few times through-out the year, but they explicitely also happen during the yearly reviews.

Here’s a version of the checklist that I cleaned up for public consumption. Some of these items have more thought and details behind them - future blog posts maybe? 🙂

Yearly Review Checklist (PDF)

Yearly Review Checklist (Markdown)