Digital Garden

Annual Review

The annual review revises the entirety of my current station in life, commitments, and personal goals for the upcomming year. This review is conducted over the first two weekends of the new year.

Outline of the Annual Review

  1. Complete the [[Quarterly Review]] for Q-04 of the prior year.
  2. Using the previous year's Vision Document and Quarterly Reviews complete the 8,760 Hours Snapshot.
  3. Complete the 8,760 Hours Vision for the new year.
  4. Create a new [[Yearbook]] and plan the budget for the year.
  5. Return to the [[Quarterly Review]] and complete the Goals section for Q-01.
  6. Archive digital and physical documents for the year to create a clean workspace for the new year.
  7. Read or browse previous year's journal entries. Compose a linear blog post of the prior year summarizing Work and Personal highlights.
  8. Compose a second blog post highlighting books, films, and games from the previous year.

8,760 Hours

8,760 Hours is a system developed by Alex Vermeer to plan and get the most out the year. A summary of the important bullets in the text and a modified version of my implementation follows.

The 8760 Hour system begin with an snapshot of the current state of my life. The last four Quarterly Reviews are useful here to fill in these details. It then moves towards outlining an ideal future.

Vermeer proposes using [[Mind Mapping]] techniques to quickly outline the domains of your life. This is useful for creating the initial snapshot that becomes a prose note outlining each domain in three hundred words or less and a score on a linkert scale (Very Bad, Bad, Ok, Good, Very Good) for each sub-category in that domain.

My domains and the sub-categories in each are:

  • Ethics (Values & Purpose, Character & Integrity, Contributions & Impact)
  • Economic (Money & Finance, Location & Tangibles)
  • Social (Career & Work, Social Life & Relationships)
  • Salubrity (Health & Fitness, Emotional Wellbeing, Productivity & Organization)
  • Creativity (Adventure, Projects)
  • Culture (Education & Skills, Media Studies)


The following steps completes the "snapshot" portion of 8760 hours.

  1. Warm up with a Mind Map exploring "What went well?", "What did not go well?", "Where did you try hard?", and "Where did you not try hard enough?" Aim for ten things in each area.
  2. Create a large "Snapshot" mind map branching into each domain and sub category. Fill in each area using the Quarterly Reviews for details.
  3. In each domain answer the questions from #1, but also answer "What are are the statuses of projects?", "What was completed in the last year?", "What important events, accomplishments or failures happened in the last year?", "What are the key metrics in these areas?"
  4. Score each sub-category using the linkert scale.
  5. Summarize the snapshot mind-map into a prose document giving three hundred words to each domain and noting the linkert scale score for each sub-category

Keep in mind the The Hamming Question:

What single thing, if succesfully performed, would have the biggest impact?

Vermeer also outlines, under each category a series of useful questions to consider while examining each area.

In the Snapshot process avoid making judgements against particular areas or jumping ahead into goal planning. When this occurs, jot these ideas down on a sperate sheet and return to the mapping process.


Create a second Mind Map that mirrors the Snapshot Mind Map, except in each category outline how it would look in an ideal situation -- what would I like my life to look like and what metric would I use to know I had reached this situation? Are there areas of the map or my identity that could be trimmed?

Examining the Ideal mind map and extract a list of concrete goals achievable within one or two years that would move towards this vision.

Next, add focus to the map. Score each domain using the linkert scale (Primary Focus, Needs Focus, Ok, Doesn't Need Focus, Ideal) to identify the areas in need of focus in the next year.

Reviewing the list of goals and focuses, identify 3 to 5 most important goals for the next year. These goals will be used to inform the project and goal setting during each quarterly review in the year.


Meta skills are ongoing skill development that assist in the achievement of other major life goals their practice are habituated throughout the year. I often evaluate them on a quarterly basis, but it is good to set certain yearly standards. Typically aim for 3 to 5 metaskills being focused on at a time.

In the past these included reading so many books, limits on the number of films watched, days of social-media fasting, daily step-goals, weight goals, minutes of meditation or days successfully maintaining a Deep Work practice.

External References

  1. Vermeer, Alex. 8,760 Hours. Alex Vermeer. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  2. Raemon. The Hamming Question, LessWrong. Retrieved 2020-10-18.

Linked References