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In the book The 12 Week Year, the authors discuss how we usually think about our goals with annualized thinking by focusing mostly on setting goals during the year.
The authors advocate for setting quarterly goals instead of just annual goals which has many more benefits than annual goals and can make you more likely to reach your goals.
Doing a quarterly review can help you not only set quarterly goals, but also review your past quarter as well.
This article share why it’s important to do a quarterly review and how to effectively review your past quarter and plan out your next quarter with a quarterly review.
What Is a Quarterly Review?
A quarterly review is the process of review your past quarter and planning the next quarter.
You do a quarter every 3 months during the year so four times a year.
When should you do a quarterly review?
Generally, these are the best time to do a quarterly review:
- End of December/Beginning of January
- End of March/Beginning of April
- End of June/Beginning of July
- End of September/Beginning of October
Why Are Quarterly Reviews Important?
Quarterly reviews create a higher sense of urgency than only setting yearly goals.
Parkinson’s law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Quarterly reviews can increase concentrated effort and encourage action for goals.
Quarterly reviews help you plan ahead. Studies show that planning saves time and effort.
Doing a quarterly review can help you notice mistakes to make adjustments and course correct.
It can also help with planning for potential mistakes.
Easier to plan
It’s much easier to plan for the next three months than for the next twelve months.
Quarterly reviews allow us to prioritize specific goals.
It also gives us the chance to focus on different goals or areas of focus throughout the year.
An increase in focus and urgency causes us to procrastinate less.
When deadlines are shorter, we are less likely to wait until the last minute when we think we have a lot of time.
A quarter is enough time to accomplish different types of goals, but it also makes every month and every week and every week count so that it’s less likely to be wasted.
Get more done throughout the year
Salespeople who set quarterly goals have more sales than salespeople who set yearly goals and make more overall.
Researchers found that salespeople who were rewarded quarterly had sales throughout the year and made more sales overall than salespeople who were rewarded yearly who made over 50% of their sales in the fourth quarter.
As a result of the increased urgency, focus, and prioritization, you get more done and can accomplish your goals faster.
How To Do A Quarterly Review
You want to treat a quarterly review like you would a yearly review, but on a smaller and more concentrated scale.
The difference is you want to be more action-focused than big picture/vision focused.
However, you do want to make sure that your quarter goal aligns with your yearly goal.
This is what also makes it different than a weekly review.
Declutter and organize your space to set yourself up for success.
You want to start off with a clear space and a calm mind.
Multiple studies show that you feel better and feel more focused when your space is organized and decluttered.
Outer order. Inner calm.
If you want to set the mood, you can also grab a drink, get comfortable, and put on some uplifting music.
Make sure to also limit distractions. Put your phone away or use Do Not Disturb mode or put it on Airplace mode.
Do a Brain Dump
Write out anything you want to get out your head.
This could be anything that you want to remember, take note of, or anything taking up space in your head.
You want to have clarity and a fresh mind.
Review Your Past Quarter
Review how the quarter went overall as well as how each month went. If you can, you can review the weeks or certain weeks.
Review any trends during the quarter. Are you making improvements each month/week or are there areas that are declining?
Remember that it’s okay to ‘take a few steps back’ sometimes. That’s a natural part of success. It’s not a straight line going upwards, but a zigzag of up and down moments slowly going up.
You want to make sure that you are making slight adjustments when necessary and focus on your overall progress as well as small wins.
Use the following questions as a guide:
How did the quarter go overall?
How did each month go? Rate each month or decide on a word for each month (or go into more detail)
What went well?
Did you accomplish what you intended to accomplish during the quarter?
What progress did you make and what small wins can you celebrate?
What changes do you need to make?
Review your habits and behaviors and see if they make you happy and you want to continue them.
You want to make sure you’re on track and if not, to make whatever needed adjustments to get on track.
Review Your Goals and Someday Lists
Review your current goals and see, not only if you’ve accomplished them, but if you actually want to continue them in the first place.
In his book, Your Best Year Ever, Michael Hyatt lists five options when reviewing your current goal during a quarterly review:
Rejoice when you’ve accomplished your goal. CELEBRATE!!!
Recommit to your goal when you haven’t accomplished your goal, but would still like to pursue it.
Revise if you’d like to make changes to your goal (while still keeping the goal).
Remove if you’d like to quit the goal. (Quitting can be a healthy thing.)
Replace when you no longer have a goal and would like to pursue a new one.
Once you’ve decided on your choice of action for your main big goal, check out your Someday list or your bucket list.
Is there anything new and exciting you’d like to try the next quarter?
This is where you can try to pursue creativity, adventure, novelty, recreation, and play.
This can include:
- New hobbies you’d like to try out
- New skills to learn
- Movies to watch
- Books to read
- Restaurants to try
- Places to visit
- Project or business ideas
- Social activities
- Giving back and helping out
Make a Plan
One of the best ways to plan for quarters is to treat them like mini years.
Set one major goal for the quarter. Focusing on one main goal makes you more likely to accomplish it.
Ideally, you want to give each month a goal or area of focus.
You also want to do this for each week as well if it applies – one major task that you’d like to get done that will help you reach your goal(s).
You also want to plan your days for the next 2 weeks ahead or at least the next week.
To help you stay on track with your goals, I recommend doing a weekly review every week.
Doing quarterly reviews can be a great way to help you advance faster and make your more likely to reach your goals.
When doing a quarterly review, you want to make sure that you’re doing what works best for you.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and make sure that you goal(s) that you set are goals that want to go after.
Remember to always celebrate your wins, big or small! Celebrate any progress no matter how small. Even celebrate making the decision to quit a goal if you realized it’s not something you want.
Lastly, don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t reach your goal or you see your progress declining. It’s all a part of the process which is something that should be embraced.