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PRODUCT.|PHILOSOPHY.|LIFE.

Looking back on the week that went by

I set goals for myself every year, and I plan my way to achieving them on a weekly basis.

I finish off the week on Sunday evenings by looking at the week ahead of me and planning for it with my prior commitments for the week as well as ensuring I'm in line for what goals I have set myself and how I am progressing towards them.

But, quite often, I am rigorous only about planning for the week ahead and not very rigorous in looking back at the week that went by. This is a common mistake that I see many teams do as well, that follow agile methodologies of working. They rigorously plan their sprints but they don't do their retrospectives with the same rigour.

This is understandable as it is much more interesting looking forward and planning for the week ahead than to look back on the week that went by and analyse where things didn't go according to plan and how they can be corrected or improved.

The planning process inherently takes into account some of the feedback from what happened in the week that went by, but that is an unconscious way of doing it. Which allows for biases to creep in and for mistakes to be overlooked and repeated.

A plan is the best course of action that can be taken from this moment on into some time in the future with regards to achieving something. And a plan is formulated with all the information available right now and informed forecasts of information changes that can occur in the future.

Which means as information changes occur in the future that aren't aligned with the original forecasts (and these happen often), plans will have to change. Also, as I start acting on my plans, some assumptions get challenged and fail to hold true. For example, I used to plan to write ten jokes a day. But it turned out that the assumption that I could manage the amount of time and creativity needed for it day in and day out was utterly wrong. I could manage more like an average of three jokes a day. So, I brought my daily target down to 3 during a retrospective.

Without which, I would continue to hit below par numbers on my goals and feel demotivated to continue chasing that goal in the long run and give up. Bringing the goal back to a more reasonable level has kept me motivated to keep going.

Most plans fail eventually because we fail to adapt and course correct on a regular enough basis. And when that happens, we lose faith in plans altogether and begin to find them overwhelming and resort to a more reactive lifestyle of taking it one day at a time as they come. 

But we don't have to. All it takes is a little time at the end of each week to look back on what went well, what didn't and how I can make corrections and changes to my assumptions so as to plan better going forward.

And I'm committing to doing this more rigorously from this week on.

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