A Comprehensive Annual Review Process

Every year, I try to reflect on the previous year’s successes, failures, biggest risks taken, and biggest lessons learned. My annual review process has become quite extensive and is presented here in its entirety.

Every year, I try to reflect on the previous year’s successes, failures, biggest risks taken, and biggest lessons learned. My annual review process has become quite extensive, but the major questions I try to address are:

  1. Past: How did my previous year go?
  2. Present: How is my overall life satisfaction now?
  3. Future: Where do I want to go in the next year?

This Annual Review process is quite comprehensive and is broken into 5 days and 13 sections. It is best to not attempt to cram all of this into a single review session, but space it out over a number of days (as outlined) or multiple 1-2 hour sessions with a break in between.

A template to create your own annual review will be made available here later. And a more detailed description of much of this list can be found at my Korean language learning blog.

Day 1

1. Start with WHY
  1. WHY do you do what you do?
  2. WHY do you want what you want?
  3. WHY do you set the goals you set?
2. Overview your previous Year
  1. 10 Great things that happened last year
  2. 5 Lessons learned (or repeated themes)
  3. Any regrets? (something you wish you did, or did more of)

(Optional) Review your statistics

  1. List all books you read – and length
  2. List any courses you studied – and length
  3. List any new projects completed (and skills / things you learned)
  4. List any exercise you can track
  5. List any money you can track
  6. List any contributions you made (money, code, service, etc)
3. Detail your previous Year
  1. Smartest decision last year
  2. Most loving service
  3. Most happy with finishing
  4. 3 people who impacted my life the most
  5. Biggest risk taken
  6. Most improved important relationship
  7. Compliment (or opportunity) I wish to have received
  8. Gratitude list: What are you most thankful for in your life now?
  9. ONE word summary of the year

Day 2

4. Rate your Life Satisfaction NOW

Give yourself a rating 1-10 for your satisfaction with each of the following. Then, write down at least one goal for each.

  1. Physical life / health
  2. Mental life / personal development / learning / growth
  3. Spiritual life
  4. Lifestyle
  5. Career / job
  6. Financial satisfaction / health
  7. Family
  8. Social (friend) relationships
5. Look Forward
  1. What 3 things must STOP in the next year?
  2. What 3 things must START?
  3. Where are 3 places you must STAY (though hard)?
  4. Where are 3 places you must LEAVE (though hard)?
  5. Where are 3 places you must SERVE (though hard)?
  6. How are 3 ways you need to CONNECT with others more?
  7. How are 3 ways you need to TRUST others more?
6. Look far Forward (beyond next Year)

Consider your ultimate destination(s) in life – beyond next year.

  1. Where do you want to be in life in 2 years?
  2. In 5 years?
  3. In 10 years?
  4. In 20 years?
  5. Before the end?
  6. Create a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) that seems out of reach now, but could be accomplished with enough focused effort.

Day 3

7. Define Success

Define your Level 50. What does Success or Greatness look like for you?

  1. What are all the things you want to HAVE in life?
  2. What are all the things you want to DO in life?
  3. What are all the things you want to BE in life?
8. Design your next Year (Set Goals)
  1. From your list of goals in Part 5, reduce that to only 3 Major Goals to focus on for the next year (or quarter).
  2. Decide upon 3 Action Steps for each Major Goal to take immediately to make progress toward that goal
  3. Decide upon a Deadline for (at least Phase One of) each goal
  4. Consider if anyone can keep you accountable and write that person’s name next to your Major Goal
  5. For each Major Goal, create a Habit (see Part 9) to help get there
9. Become the Change you Seek

What kind of person can achieve what you’ve written down? Brainstorm for a while and write a short paragraph for each.

  1. What kind of person would achieve my Physical goals?
  2. What kind of person would achieve my Mental goals?
  3. What kind of person would achieve my Spiritual goals?
  4. What kind of person would achieve my Lifestyle goals?
  5. What kind of person would achieve my Career goals?
  6. What kind of person would achieve my Financial goals?
  7. What kind of person would achieve my Family goals?
  8. What kind of person would achieve my Social goals?

Can you find any recurring patterns or themes? Write these out as a series of Affirmations to repeat for the next year.


Day 4

10. Schedule it

Start with the Big rocks on your calendar.

  1. The Year: What major events or commitments for the next Year can you immediately mark on the calendar?
  2. The next Quarter: More specifically, is there anything coming up in the next 3 months you need to make a note of?
  3. This month: What specifically would you like to accomplish this month – particularly as it relates to Major Goals and Action Steps?
  4. Ideal week: In a Spreadsheet or paper grid, block off your weekly commitments and anywhere you’d like to include your new Habits.

When blocking out your Ideal schedule, also consider the following Time Blocks:

  1. Buffer Block (30 min x 2 / day) : to take care of unplanned interruptions
  2. Strategic Block (3 hrs / week) : focused time, where you make progress toward your goals
  3. Breakout Block (3 hrs / month) : to get out and rejuvenate yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally
11. Create the Habits to get you there

For (at least) each of your Major Goals in Part 8, determine how you can create a Habit for it. (You may also consider making or breaking Habits for some of the things you listed in Part 5.)

Make a Good Habit

  1. Cue: Make it obvious
  2. Craving: Make it attractive
  3. Routine: Make it easy
  4. Reward: Make it satisfying

Break a Bad Habit

  1. Cue: Make it invisible
  2. Craving: Make it ugly
  3. Routine: Make it difficult
  4. Reward: Make it empty
12. Track your progress

That which gets measured gets accomplished.

Proverb

Determine how you will Track your progress daily, weekly, or monthly. There are apps that can help you by keeping track of certain things automatically. For other things, use paper.

  1. How will I track Physical progress / goals?
  2. How will I track Mental progress / goals?
  3. How will I track Spiritual progress / goals?
  4. How will I track Lifestyle progress / goals?
  5. How will I track Career progress / goals?
  6. How will I track Financial progress / goals?
  7. How will I track Family progress / goals?
  8. How will I track Social progress / goals?
  9. At what time of day will I sit down to track one or more of these?
  10. Which day of the week will I track and review my weekly progress and preview or prepare myself for the week to come.
  11. After how many weeks or months will I sit down to do a comprehensive review of my progress and redirect my steps toward the next span of time. (Personally, I prefer Quarters – about four times per year, with three months between each.)

Day 5

13. Prepare yourself

At the end of a long week of reflection and planning, the final step is to prepare for the next burst of energy. You want to make everything as streamlined and smooth as possible so that you can hit the ground running with your new Habits and Goals.

  1. What NEW things do you need? (Tracking apps, new clothes, etc)
  2. What OLD things need to be thrown away? (Distractions, etc)
  3. What MILESTONES do you need to prepare for along the way?

Well, there you have it. A very intense and comprehensive Annual Review process to help you prepare for the next step in life. For me, the times I’ve taken to be alone and reflect and plan like this have been literally life-changing. It is a long process, but if you do it well and stick to your plan, it’ll make a big difference in the upcoming weeks and months.

Plan your work. But don’t forget to work your plan.

Proverb

Resources

Some books I’ve read that helped me learn and incorporate some of these principles into my Annual Review are as follows (affiliate links).

  1. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  2. Design your Best Year Ever by Darren Hardy
  3. Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt
  4. The 12-Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
  5. The 12-Week Year Field Guide by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
  6. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits that will turn you into a Superhero

Drawing on numerous resources, this presentation investigates what habits are, how they work, and how building the right ones into your life will turn you into a literal superhero. We’ll take a look at triggers, cravings, and rewards; the formation of good habits and the destruction of bad habits; and the top 6 High Performance Habits developed by Brendon Burchard and the High Performance Institute after over a decade of research and coaching.

Have you ever felt too busy? Overwhelmed? Stretched too thin? Your work doesn’t have to be like that. Your life in particular, shouldn’t be like that.

Drawing on numerous resources, this presentation investigates what habits are, how they work, and how building the right ones into your life will turn you into a literal superhero. We’ll take a look at triggers, cravings, and rewards; the formation of good habits and the destruction of bad habits; and the top 6 High Performance Habits developed by Brendon Burchard and the High Performance Institute after over a decade of research and coaching.

If you’ve ever wondered such things as “How long does it take to develop a new habit?” or “What if I fail in maintaining my habits?” or even “Which habits will move the needle the most in my professional and personal life?” then this talk is for you. The talk also ends with a discussion on good and bad teaching habits and how to improve yourself in your classroom and office.


Overview

What’s the difference between superheroes and us “normal” people?

Could it be living a life of purpose? Purpose leads to fulfillment. Fulfillment equals happiness.

Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.

Ben Franklin

A basic framework for happiness:

  • Engagement: Time spent daily, hopefully in a job that challenges us, but also in our after-hours hobbies. (see Power of Full Engagement)
  • Mastery: An ability to show ourselves that we are making consistent progress and improvements toward a specified goal. (see Drive)
  • Flow: Energy and attention dedicated each day to an activity that puts us in the zone. (see Flow)

Happiness is a consequence of the things you do daily, not a reward.

Steve Kamb, Level Up Your Life

Your (Super) Hero’s Journey

  1. Act 1
    1. Introduction to the protagonist’s world (that’s you!)
    2. Call to Action: Habits? What about Freedom?
      1. Neuro-pathways & Significance of your Identity
    3. Crossing the Threshold: How habits work
      1. Immediacy and addiction
  2. Act 2
    1. Meet the Mentor(s)
      1. Be intentional
      2. Reframe your mind
      3. Get some Accountability
    2. First Challenge: Make Good Habits inevitable
      1. The Law of Least Effort & The Goldilocks Principle
      2. Keystone habits & Habit stacking
    3. Temptation: Make Bad Habits impossible
    4. Dark Moment: 
      1. Importance of your Environment
      2. Schedule over Scope (Don’t break the Chain)
      3. Frequency: “How long”? Try “how much”?
  3. Act 3
    1. Final Conflict: High Performance (Superhero) Habits
      1. Personal: Seek Clarity
      2. Personal: Generate Energy
      3. Personal: Raise Necessity
      4. Social: Increase Productivity
      5. Social: Develop Influence
      6. Social: Demonstrate Courage
    2. Return home (changed): Systems trump Goals (“Continue playing for the love of the game”)

Ready Player One

1.1 Introduction

How’s life? 

Have you ever felt too busy? Overwhelmed? Stretched too thin? Your work doesn’t have to be like that. Your life in particular, shouldn’t be like that. 

A 2006 Duke University study indicates that more than 40% of your daily activities are habitual. Not enjoying your day? Change your habits.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.

Will Durant

1.2 Call To Action

Once more, from above: “Not enjoying your day? Change your habits.”

But what about Freedom?

Many people think that increasing our Habits decreases our Freedom for choice in life. But the opposite is actually true.

  • Jocko Willink (former US Navy Seal): posted a picture of himself surfing with his son before work one morning.
    • Commenter #1: “Must be nice.”
    • Commenter #2: “Discipline equals freedom.”
    • Advice: Be incredibly disciplined about parts of your day so that you have the freedom to enjoy the rest of your day.
  • Steve Jobs (& Mark Zuckerberg): often wear the same thing every day
    • Advice: Make decisions in advance, be as habitual as possible about certain things, to reduce cognitive load and allow yourself more brain power for the things that truly matter.

Introduction to “Neuro-pathways”

Neuro-pathways are connections formed in the brain between neurons in different areas of the brain. The more you perform a certain habit, the more deeply ingrained it becomes. But, we can change our neuro-pathways.

Your life moves in the direction of your strongest thoughts. Don’t like where your life is moving? Change your thoughts!

Craig Groeschel (paraphrase)

Every thought or action is a “vote” for who you are or want to become. Over time, will “Future You” thank you for the decisions “Current You” is making to shape his/her identity?

1.3 Crossing the Threshold

Charles Duhigg wrote an excellent book called The Power of Habit that clearly lays out how habits work, how to change bad habits into good ones, and how to create new habits.

How Habits work

  1. Cue: Something triggers your habit or a Craving
  2. Routine: You do something to satisfy this
  3. Reward: The cycle has a clear ending

Often, you cannot fully control the Cue nor the Reward. Therefore, Duhigg argues that to change a habit, you should focus on the Routine. In truth, all people have control over the choices they make about their habit routines. But many people feel controlled by their habits, not in control of them. 

  • Why do I do what I don’t want to do?
  • Why don’t I do what I want to do?

Additionally, many people express difficulty in creating new habits or breaking old, deeply ingrained ones.

Immediate Consequences

In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear points out that “immediate” rewards or consequences are the key. 

  • That which is immediately rewarded = repeated
  • That which is immediately punished = prevented

Returning to our discussion of “Future You” vs. “Current You,” we can understand how “Current You” is more in favor of Netflix and ice cream after a long day at work than in helping “Future You” become fit. The craving for immediate, visible gratification often outweighs our desire for long-term positive outcomes precisely because we cannot immediately perceive that our efforts have had any effect. 

  • Netflix + ice cream = immediate stress relief and relaxation
  • Exercise at the gym = muscular pain for…. what? long-term health? No thanks, I’ll take the immediate hit of sugar and comedy~

Rising Action

2.1 Meeting the Mentor(s)

Much of this next section includes notes from James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Check out his blog for more great articles.


Humans tend to be weak in the moments of Craving or HATS (Hunger, Anger, Tiredness, Stress). But there are a few things we can do about it:

  1. Release tension, Set intention (from High Performance Habits)
  2. Reframe the Cues
  3. Get some Accountability

Set intention practices

  • During the pauses between activities, mentally release what was, and decide on what you will make of what is to come.
    • After work, in front of my door, take 10 deep breaths, release my work stress, determine to smile at my wife and greet my children with hugs first upon entering the house
  • Visualize the outcome you want
    • Michael Phelps: famously played “mental videotapes” in his head every night before bed during training and before every meet in which he “performed” at his peak – when the race came, he did
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger: when interviewed after his first movie “Hercules in New York” flopped, claimed he’d “be the biggest name in Hollywood” 
  • Write out an “Implementation Intention
    • Research indicates that writing down your intention to do a certain thing at a certain time and place raises the likelihood you’ll stick with your intention to 91% (compared with 35-38% success if you rely on motivation or self-control alone)

Reframing practices

  • Your Cue can be deceptive and you can change how you interpret it
    • You don’t crave chips, you crave something sweet and crunchy
    • You don’t crave alcohol, but you are thirsty, need to relax, and want some flavor
    • You don’t crave a cigarette, you crave conversation (or alone time) outside the office in the cool fall air
    • You don’t crave sex with a stranger, you crave physical release (exercise) or human contact (snuggling)
    • Your heart rate and breathing increasing, palms getting sweaty before a competition or presentation isn’t you being afraid of that, it’s your body preparing you to perform at the highest level

Accountability practices

  • Find someone who’s already doing what you want, and ask to join them (training at the gym)
  • Sign a “Habit Contract” with a partner that lays out immediate consequences (like giving a set amount of money to something or someone you hate) if you fail to live up to your end of the bargain

2.2 First Challenge

Time to put what you’ve learned about Habits to work. Let’s create a NEW one! Advise: start small. The “Path of Least Resistance” teaches us that the easiest thing to do is the thing you will do. So, setting a goal of ONE pull-up per day is a much easier (and better) way to get started exercising than trying to begin going to the gym everyday. 

(Note: I literally remade my life in 2013 in a similar fashion after I first listened to The Power of Habit.) 

Make Good Habits inevitable

  1. Cue: Make it obvious
    1. An alarm, a time of day, after a certain activity, in a certain place
    2. You can also pair a new habit with a Keystone habit (one that is the “gateway” to other habits), or Stack your habits
  2. Craving: Make it attractive
    1. Temptation bundling = give yourself something you want (chocolate) for doing something you need to do (exercise)
  3. Routine: Make it easy
    1. Use the “Path of Least Resistance” to determine the smallest step you need to take to begin a new habit. 
      1. Want to run? Set out your clothes the night before.
      2. Read more? Set a book on your bed after you make it.
      3. Wake up early? Get home by 10pm.
    2. Additionally, the “Goldilocks Rule” says that if something is too easy or too hard, you won’t stay motivated. Things within 4% of a “stretch” are “just right” and allow us to continually progress.
  4. Reward: Make it satisfying
    1. Satisfy your Craving – eat the chocolate, watch the Netflix show, drink your special coffee, etc

Here’s a practical example of something I should start doing a better job of.

My example: Grading student work:

  1. Cue: Every Friday at 3pm
  2. Craving: need a mid-afternoon energy boost
  3. Routine: sit down at the computer, open the Gradebook on the left and assignments on the right, begin grading
  4. Reward: buy a latte (I don’t buy them often), or eat my favorite chocolate

Keystone habits & Habit Stacking

  • Keystone habits are habits that set the foundation for and naturally lead in to other habits
    • Good ones:
      • I wake up early so
      • I eat breakfast and go to the gym so
      • I shower so
      • I shave so
      • I brush my teeth so
      • I feel healthy so
      • I’m energized so
      • I arrive at work energized so
      • I do my best work so
      • I get promoted…
    • Bad ones:
      • I wake up late so
      • I’m rushed so
      • I don’t eat breakfast so
      • I’m angry on the road to work so
      • I get in an accident so
      • I arrive late so
      • I snap at my coworkers so
      • I under-perform so
      • I get fired… 
  • Habit stacking is where you look through your current habits and determine a place (with a Cue that is the completion of one habit) where you can insert a new habit
    • For example, in the “Good” list above, how about inserting “read for 15 minutes” after “I brush my teeth”? Then, you list will read:
      • … I brush my teeth so
      • <I read for 15 minutes so>
      • I feel healthy <and smart> so

2.3 Temptation

Reverse the habit loop above to flip bad habits upside down and destroy them!

Make Bad Habits impossible

  1. Cue: Make it invisible
    1. Put the TV in the closet, keep your phone in another room, keep junk food out of the house, drive down a different road at lunch
  2. Craving: Make it ugly
    1. Picture yourself with 20 extra kg, visualize the fat and calories seeping into your blood stream and clogging your arteries, enable black & white mode on your phone
  3. Routine: Make it difficult
    1. Remove batteries from the remote, delete the app altogether, change your environment (more on this in the next section)
  4. Reward: Make it empty
    1. Chide yourself whenever you engage in that behavior, remove one good thing you enjoy from your life as a consequence, pay the dues of your “Habit Contract” (above)

My example: Checking Facebook:

  1. Cue: I’m bored, need entertained, or want some connection
  2. Craving: I visualize it as a slot machine that delivers politically-charged negativity more than it delivers real satisfaction
  3. Routine: Deleted the Facebook app in June
  4. Reward: (also with YouTube) I only give it one page scroll when I’m in a “bored” state of mind

2.4 Dark Moment

But what if you fail? Obviously we cannot succeed 100% of the time.

When you FAIL at Good Habits

  •  Never Miss Twice: Get back on the horse as quickly as possible. Anyone (everyone) can have a bad day. It’s not a single mistake that changes the direction of your life. But a series of many missteps over many years, a repeated pattern of “bad” behavior will. Correct yourself as quickly as possible and get back at it.
  • Don’t Break the Chain: Use a calendar and put a green circle around any day you perform your good habit. After a while, you will start a series of green circles (indicating success), and you will find yourself mentally looking for ways to NOT break your cycle.

When you FAIL at controlling Bad Habits

  • Environment: Understand that your environment has a HUGE impact on your habits
    • In the Vietnam War, up to 20% of soldiers became addicted to heroin (35% reported having tried it). After returning home (to a new environment), only 5% of them were re-addicted in one year (12% in three years)
    • The opposite statistics are often true for domestic heroin addicts who go to rehab, get clean, and then return to the same old environment that led to their addiction
    • Upgrade your Bat Cave (from Level Up Your Life): If your environment is causing you to stumble, change it! You have control over the many of the things you see, listen to, do, and eat every day.
  • Identity: Remind yourself of who you ARE deep down (like Simba in the Lion King). Are you really the kind of person who does these things? No! Remind yourself who you ARE and that each vote (action) FOR or AGAINST that identity will make it stronger or weaker.

Anecdote on Identity:

There was a young boy who loved to play baseball. He would go out to the field all the time, throw the ball up in the air, and try to hit it.

  1. On the first throw, he said, “Here comes Johnny, the greatest hitter who has ever lived!” He threw it up. A swing, and a miss.
  2. On the second throw, “I’m still the greatest hitter who has ever lived!” A throw, a swing, and a miss.
  3. On the third throw, “I’m still the greatest hitter who has ever lived!” Again, throw, swing, miss.
  4. Finally, he exclaimed: “WOW! I can’t believe it! I’m also the greatest pitcher who has ever lived! Because I just struck out the greatest hitter who has ever lived!”

Climax

The habits outlined in this next section come from Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits. Check out his blog for more great articles.

3.1 Final Conflict

So, what are THE best habits you can cultivate in your own life? Here are notes about 6 that have been compiled by Brendon Burchard at the High Performance Institute after over a decade of hands-on research and coaching with world-class performers.

I’ve mapped these habits to many of the spokes on Dan Miller’s Wheel of Life from his book 48 Days to the Work You Love:

High Performance Habits

Personal Habits

  1. Seek Clarity (Mind)
    1. What’s your Identity? Are you who you want to be? What kinds of things would that person do / not do? Am I living into that Identity?
    2. What are your Habits? Be mindful of this. Perform a self-inventory and determine where there’s room for improvement.
    3. Set up Quarterly reviews. I’ve personally found it very helpful to quarterly take a FULL day away to brainstorm and become VERY clear about myself, my habits, environment, and vision for the future. It makes the next quarter much smoother. Two good resources:
      1. Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt
      2. The 12-Week Year by Brian P. Moran & Michael Lennington 
  2. Generate Energy (Body)
    1. Physically, do you have enough energy? Exercise has been shown to help increase energy levels (as has proper nutrition)
    2. Can you bring energy to what you do? Are you passionate and alive about it?
    3. Personally: I go to the gym every morning before 7am and commute by bike. The mental and physical benefits are immeasurable.
  3. Raise Necessity (Spirit)
    1. People with a greater sense of “necessity” are more likely to follow-through with their tasks. Raise your “necessity”, raise your follow-though.
    2. How important is it that you get a certain thing done?
    3. Personally: When I find myself slacking, I have to constantly go back to my “Why” (Start with Why) to remind myself why I’m pushing and hustling and working hard.

Social Habits

  1. Increase Productivity (Career)
    1. How can you do more with less? How can you be more efficient with what you have? How can you accomplish tasks more quickly with the same level of quality?
    2. Set a Schedule, not a Deadline: The problem with deadlines is when we miss them, we feel guilty, and sometimes even give up on what we were doing – even if we’re better off now than when we started.
    3. Personally: This means getting up every single morning (even Sundays) well before the sun is up. I try to set aside a minimum of 3 hours every morning before work to accomplishing my personal (non-work related) most important tasks.
    4. Prioritize Education over Entertainment: I’ve also not had a TV for 10 years. I spend the majority of my “down” time engaged in some kind of “active” relaxation that is stimulating my brain and helping me learn new skills. Increase the output that matters and get insanely good at new skills.
  2. Develop Influence (Social)
    1. Get out there and meet people. You can’t accomplish much alone. Build a team before trying to change the world.
    2. Lead by Example: Be a leader. Stand up and role model the way. Encourage others to follow your example.
    3. Personally: I’m involved in a few organizations where, if something needs done, I just do it. This has led to others being more open about stepping up and helping out as well. 
  3. Demonstrate Courage (Legacy)
    1. Find someone to fight for. Who needs your “A game”? Play big or go home. Take bold action. Dream big dreams.
    2. Personally: After my wife gave birth to our first child (son), I had a sudden, sinking realization that my life was no longer my own, and that my base income was no longer sufficient to sustain a growing family. I raised my “A game” and courageously stepped out into every opportunity that presented itself.

3.2 Return Home (changed)

Continue playing for love of the Game (or why Systems trump Goals)

Five years ago tomorrow, Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert wrote on his blog about the difference between Goals and Systems (James Clear expands upon the failings of setting Goals without Systems):

In my new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, I talk about using systems instead of goals. For example, losing ten pounds is a goal (that most people can’t maintain), whereas learning to eat right is a system that substitutes knowledge for willpower.

Scott Adams

What’s the difference?

Systems vs. Goals

  1. Winners and losers have the same goals, but winners create superior systems to accomplish those goals
  2. Achieving a goal is momentary, but systems last a lifetime
  3. Goals actually restrict your happiness by telling you “once I reach XYZ goal, then I’ll be happy”, but systems enable happiness in the moment
  4. Goals create a “yo-yo” effect – once you pass the finish line, you stop working hard for a while until the next goal is looming, but systems enable continual, long-term, sustained effort “for love of the game

Change your game

Play the game you can win at.

  • Hicham El Guerrouj: Moroccan 2-time gold medalist and world-record holder in middle-distance running 
  • Michael Phelps: #1 most decorated Olympian in history (swimming); 7 inches taller & 40 percent heavier than Hicham

These two appear to be very different. But there is one thing they have in common: the wear the same length inseam on their pants.

But would either of them, if they switched places, under the same training and circumstances, have been the same caliber athlete as the other? Not a chance. Phelps’ body is built for swimming; Hicham’s is built for running.

Create a new game

Do you find you’re not succeeding at the game you’re playing? Create and play a new game altogether. 

A good player works hard to win the game everyone else is playing. A great player creates a new game that favors their strengths and avoids their weaknesses…

Specialization is a powerful way to overcome the “accident” of bad genetics. The more you master a specific skill, the harder it becomes for others to compete with you.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it. 

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

What are you skilled at? What are you fascinated by? What do you enjoy doing most that many people would argue is painful or hard to do? 

Perhaps you’ve found a new game to begin developing.


Resources

The following authors, their blogs, and books have had an enormous impact on my life. I’ve also linked to their “Academies” where applicable:

  1. Best blogs
    1. James Clear (Atomic Habits) | HabitsAcademy
    2. Steve Kamb (Level Up Your Life)| Nerd Fitness Academy 
    3. Michael Hyatt (Your Best Year Ever)
  2. Great books
    1. Brendon Burchard (High Performance Habits) | High Performance Institute
    2. Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit)

The following collection of books are those that I’ve referenced in this talk. Each has had a significant impact on my life. Many I’ve read more than once, and some I’ve desired to read again immediately upon finishing. Be aware that these are Amazon affiliate links, so I’ll get a small commission if you click through and purchase any of them.

Increase your Professional Performance

Over the years, I’ve collected numerous tips for better teaching, better presentations, making course materials, and presenting your best professional face to the world – both in person and online. This talk will include a collection of at least 10 such tips.

Abstract

Over the years, I’ve collected numerous tips for better teaching, better presentations, making course materials, and presenting your best professional face to the world – both in person and online. This talk will include a collection of at least 10 tips including Google Drive, Classroom, & Search tips, creating listening tests, increasing your professional productivity, setting and achieving goals, using LinkedIn and online resumes, and so on. I may structure it as a bit of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” presentation and allow the audience to choose the tips most relevant to their interests. And as usual, I’ll try to allow for plenty of question time at the end.

The best Teachers are Life-long Learners

With this presentation, I hope to convey to you that becoming life-long learners is the #1 best way to become a better teacher. Over the past 10 years, I’ve accomplished the following and grown immeasurably:

  • 170 Lynda.com (LinkedIn Learning) courses
  • 100+ books (Audible.com)
  • Online Master’s degree (Full Sail University)
  • Online Nanodegree (Udacity)

If you want to stay “ahead of the curve” in any industry (or even keep up, let alone catch up) you need to become a life-long learner and make a habit of keeping up to date with the goings-on in that industry.

Contents

  1. Google
    1. Google Classroom
    2. Google Tips
    3. Google Drive
  2. Korean
    1. Korean Grammar
    2. Korean Vocabulary
    3. Korean Games
  3. Apps
    1. Lightshot
    2. Audacity
    3. LinkedIn
  4. Bonus
    1. Bullet Journal

1.1 Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a great way to stay organized as a teacher and distribute assignments to students in a whole class or individually. Check out the following links for some of my other presentations on Classroom:

1.2 Google Tips

Google Service is the most ubiquitous, powerful, and yet also the most under-utilized Google service. Follow the link below to get some tips for making the most of it. There are 10 other Google Services listed as well:

1.3 Google Drive

Drive acts like a hard drive in the cloud, but has some pretty unique features that you may not know about.

  • Sharing & simultaneous collaborative editing
  • Preview files you don’t have programs for (.AI, .PSD)
  • Review Drive activity ( Info)
  • Review File Revision history
  • Add-Ons (DriveTunes)

Plus, Drive is a great way to keep your USBs safe (by simply not using them). But if you insist on hanging onto your USBs, you should really install Panda USB Vaccine to disable Autorun that often gets you viruses when you plug it into an infected computer.

2.1 Korean Grammar

As you learn more Korean grammar, you’ll be better able to teach English grammar. You’ll be better able to pick out common mistakes and explain English grammar patterns in a way that is easily understandable. 

But first, you might want to learn Hangul touch typing. This will save you loads of time in the future, if you type in Korean much. It can also be quite beneficial in class to type 명사, 동사, and 형용사 (noun, verb, adjective) and other things to help you explain the grammar patterns better.

2.2 Korean Vocabulary

Did you know it’s possible to learn 3600 new vocabulary words in 4 months by only practicing for around 30 minutes per day? Have you ever tried it? I’m living proof that the method outlined in the link above works.

And here’s a video with 10 more suggestions to learn new words. Use it yourself or share it with your class:

2.3 Korean Games

Learning a little Korean pop culture also provides you with a great opportunity to connect with your students on a new level and make classes more interesting and engaging for them. Here are three games that they’ll all be familiar with that you can learn in class to teach new vocabulary:

3 Korean word games to test or improve your Korean vocabulary

3.1 Lightshot

Lightshot is hands down the BEST screenshot app I’ve ever come across (yet). It’s so good, I install it on every computer I have access to. I’ve also installed it on every computer in the lab at the high school I work at. 

  • Simply press the PrtSc button to darken the screen and get a crosshairs mouse pointer
  • Draw a shape around the area you want to copy, print, or save
  • The editing tools in the app also give you the ability to DRAW or type anything within the space you’ve outlined
  • Key point: Basically, you’ll be able to create an instant on-screen whiteboard in any class to draw on scans of the book or highlight grammar points in a document you’re showing on the projector

3.2 Audacity

Audacity is the best FREE audio editing app, and it’s great for making listening tests. It’s so versatile that I’ve used it for the following:

  • Recording podcasts
  • Editing sound for movie production
  • Creating pop song remixes and mashups

3.3 LinkedIn

Find me on LinkedIn here. I’ve optimized my profile to showcase my professional skills and abilities. These days, your “resume” isn’t just something you hand in on paper. Every employer can (and will) Google Search you, so it’s important to have something online that is complete, professional, and highlights your accomplishments.

There are plenty of great books online to help you optimize yours. 

Bonus: “Real” online resumes with WordPress

If you couldn’t tell by the rest of this site, I’m a big fan of WordPress (this site is built on it as well). WordPress is the BEST way to get started cultivating your professional online presence. You have two to choose from:

  1. WordPress.com is a managed host – you just pay the bill
  2. WordPress.org is self-hosted – meaning you need:
    1. URL name registration (around $12.95 for a .com)
    2. Hosting (affiliate) (starting at $2.59/mo)

Bonus: Bullet Journal

If you really want to stay organized (a very good idea in today’s busy world), going analog (paper) is so much better than taking everything digital (too many distractions). The Bullet Journal is one of the best methods I’ve found for staying organized. Check out the following for more details:

Conclusion

Let me leave you with three quotes from some of my favorite authors and public speakers regarding your “Professional Performance.”

Either run the day, or the day runs you… Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time… Time management is the best kept secret of the rich.

Jim Rohn

The whole purpose of time management and getting more done in less time is to enable you to have more time to spend with the people you love, doing the things you enjoy.

Brian Tracy

‘Time management’ is really a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time but ourselves. The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

Stephen Covey

Bio

Aaron Snowberger is a Google Certified Educator, Trainer, and G Suite Administrator. He teaches Computer Science & Graphic Design at Global Prodigy Academy and English at Jeonju University. He also does freelance graphic design and website programming work, specializing in WordPress and React. He has designed multiple publications, websites, and KOTESOL posters, and has previously presented at the KOTESOL National and International Conferences, as well as the Seoul WordPress Grand Meetup. Apart from work, Aaron also enjoys cycling and playing musical instruments (like bass guitar).