You’ve more than likely have heard the words simplicity and minimalism, but have you heard the word essentialism?
For months now, I’ve listened to a lot of buzz about a book called “Essentialism.” It’s high praise and recommendations made me curious. However, what finally got me motivated enough to get my hands on a copy of the book, was listening to a podcast with the author on MichaelHyatt.com.
After listening to the podcast, I understood the hype. The author’s ideas are contagious.
The author, Greg McKeown, had a defining moment in his life when he realized that his choices and decisions in his career did not align with his values. From that, he created a filter through which he would start making decisions about how he would use his time. He calls this process Essentialism.
Greg defines Essentialism as the “disciplined pursuit of less.” It’s not necessarily about having fewer material possessions. It’s learning to make better decisions about what we say yes to, what we allow to fill our calendars, our minds, and our lives.
What caught my attention in Greg’s interview with Michael Hyatt was a concept that evolved after he wrote the book. It’s the idea of conducting a personal, offsite review – every 90 days.
Sidenote: When I originally wrote this post, I had only read part of the book and was captivated from the get-go. Since then I have read the book and listened to the audiobook multiples times, with a goal of re-reading/re-listening at least once a year.
What is a Personal Quarterly Review?
It’s a block of time set aside specifically to look back at the past 90-days and evaluate what worked, what didn’t, as well as getting clarity on what course changes you need to make to reach your goals.
What Questions Do You Ask During Your Review?
In my research and reading, it was hard to find concrete examples of what questions to ask. And there is a reason for that. Your list of review questions will be unique to you and different from everyone else.
Here is a list of questions I’ve put together to get you started:
- What worked well in the last 90 days?
- What didn’t work well?
- What did I say yes to that I enjoyed and/or moved me towards my goals?
- What should I have said no to?
- What is important right now? (Family, Friends, Career, Personal etc.)
- What can I get rid of or stop doing?
- Are my goals still worth pursuing? Are they in alignment with my values and priorities?
As you can see, these are not lightweight questions. You will need time to think about them, pray over them and journal your answers.
Over time you will need to adjust these question to create an experience unique to you that allows you to get the most out of these review sessions.
Tips For Your First 90-Day Review
This one is pretty much a must. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to try and do this at home. There are way too many distractions. You will think about and find all sorts of “need to be done” items on your to-do list which makes it hard to focus and concentrate.
There is something powerful about putting pen to paper and ignoring our digital world for a while. So grab your favorite pen, some paper or journal, turn off your phone and start writing.
Create An Environment:
Start noticing at what time of day you are best able to focus and the creative juices start to flow. Where do you feel inspired? Where can you go that takes you out of your everyday routine? Do you prefer to do reflection time indoors or outdoors? Do you need the quiet of a library or the hum of background noise at a favorite coffee shop?
Create an environment that sets you up for success and gives you the space to help you think through your list of review questions.
Keep A Journal:
Have a way to capture thoughts, ideas, plans and any aha moments you discover during this evaluation and reflection time.
Keep It Simple:
Don’t complicate this. If you make it expensive, ultra time-consuming, or an event that you need a lot of supplies for, you won’t do it.
When you start creating a habit of consistent review and evaluation you am laying a foundation for success and growth in your life. After a couple of review times, you will start to see this time as an investment in your growth. It will become a necessity and not feel like a luxury.
Do you schedule personal quarterly reviews on your calendar?
- Click here to watch or listen to Michael Hyatt’s podcast with Greg McKeown and read the blog post.
- Click here to read more about the book.
- Check out James Woosley’s Simple Strategic Plan. James suggests doing quarterly reviews of your business.
- In this post, “I Decided To Sell My Business”, Stu McLaren shares how the book “Essentialism” became a catalyst for big changes in his life.
- Michael Hyatt’s post, “The Importance of the Quarterly Review” is a post I have referred back to often.
The more I read, the more I see that by creating a habit of consistent review and evaluation I am laying a foundation for success and growth in my life. I can see that this is an investment, a necessity and not a luxury.
It’s time to cultivate a new habit.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.