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Quarterly Review

Posted on October 1, 2020 at 14:36

It’s the first day of October, and an OmniFocus task tells me it’s time to review what happened last quarter so that I can set goals for the next three months.

My mind is blank. I can’t think of a single thing I’ve achieved in the last three months. I mean, I remember doing some things, they are just unmoored in time. Did that thing happen in June, or was it February?

I’ve always had a pretty bad memory for events, and I think my brain is working as well as it ever has in most ways. I’m more inclined to the theory that I’m just experiencing the passage of time differently now that every day is the same as the last. The usual milestones — birthdays, anniversaries, conferences — just don’t exist any more and I can’t navigate without them.

I have often kept workbooks for long periods when it made sense, with 2003–2013 being the most recent block. I fell out of the habit, I think, when the nature of the work I was doing changed. These days, I tend to write copious working notes in applications like Bear but there’s no time component to those.

Coincidentally, 2013 seems to have been the year when I first tried journaling as a way of sorting out my thoughts at the end of the day. This seems to have been too vague a goal, and it didn’t stick: I did get my first introduction to the Day One journaling application, however. I’ve played with it a couple of times since.

How do I know this? Well, it’s all in Day One, of course. I still own the application, and seem to have been grandfathered into a lifetime legacy “Plus” status which gives me the basics of the application and (most importantly) sync across all my devices for free.

My new plan, then, is to start journaling again from today, but this time with the very specific goal of at least recording what I’ve been working on. In three months time, we’ll see whether a review of the quarter is feasible again, even if the temporal structure of my life hasn’t returned more naturally.