Annual Review 2023 - a positive way to get better

Annual Review 2023 - a positive way to get better

Welcome to the annual review of 2023

Every year I conduct a personal and business annual review.

I’ve been doing an annual review for a few years now, the first few in private and then sharing them. I do them for a few reasons:

It helps me reflect on the year at a higher level. I often get consumed in the minutia of day to day and struggle to step back and treat my life like the system it is. It’s bigger than everyday.

It’s a way of being honest with myself about where I have focused my energy and attention – and whether it’s been a good use of these limited resources.

It’s a way of crystallising the year that has gone and looking at ways to weave this into my planning for next year. I set goals between Christmas and New Year for the following year. This reflection is essential for that – so I know where to focus that energy and attention.

It’s a way of looking at the pillars of life and seeing which ones are out of kilter.

With that aside, let’s jump in to the annual review.

As a reminder, the pillars of life, in my life at least, are the following.

  • Education and personal development
  • Health
  • Family
  • Finances and money
  • Impact on society
  • Productivity and effectiveness

Before we jump in though – I just want to say Thank You. Thank you for reading this blog and thank you for the email responses and messages. They make it all worthwhile.

The Review

Education and personal development

It’s been a good and bad year for Education and Personal Development. I’ve been a little all over the place and swapping subjects a lot but I’ve got through quite a lot.

I may have mentioned already but I am fully addicted to Domestika and have paid for an annual “plus” license. As such, I have sat courses on such topics as:

  • Brand building
  • Business Communications
  • Acting
  • Lettering
  • Paper Cutting
  • Growing a creative business
  • Drawing
  • Digital Collage
  • Future planning
  • And more!

I’m still not pushing myself much and am capable of much more, but next year should be better in this regard.

I have read plenty of books. Not as many as usual because I’m trying to truly digest books rather than simply read them.

I’ve also revamped my Personal Knowledge Management System and will do a video on this next year. I now use Zotero and Joplin and notebooks – and I am very happy with this new model. Video landing next year

A good year for learning.


Crap. Rubbish year for health and wellbeing. Feel flat out burned out and really need to address this. This is why I do an annual review to really bring home what’s important.

I stopped my gym membership earlier in the year and have done pretty much nothing since then. This is a key focus for 2024 – and I mean a key focus. I’ve got to get back on track. Must eat cleanly and get back to working out.

Plenty of work to do in the area of health. This pillar is crumbling so I need to build this one back up. Quickly.


It’s been a good year for family. It’s been quite stressful with the house build but we’re hanging in there.
My eldest is going to be doing his GCSE finals next year and so my focus is on supporting him with this. The other two boys are doing well – and we need to keep supporting them.

We had a nice summer holiday this year and are hoping for another holiday next year. Let’s see.

We’re also hoping to have the house finished in March/April next year which will be SO nice – a nice clean modern house to live in. We’re all very much looking forward to this.

Finances and money

Can’t complain here. House budget is being broken but good from many other aspects.

I am hoping to pivot my income a little over the next few years to be less from consulting and more from books, training, speaking etc.

I limit my speaking gigs to just two a year but may expand this a little.

I get a LOT of joy from presenting (and travelling) and although it doesn’t pay as well as consulting, it is a key aspect of keeping my health and sanity.

Impact on society

Reasonable year here. I donate 5% of profits from my non-consulting work to charity. This year I donated to a children’s hospice and a charity supporting homeless people get back on their feet.

I said last year that I needed to do more active work in society, rather than passively donating money. I didn’t do well in this respect, so will try hard next year to donate my time and energy, rather than just money.

I am also going to learn how to run the line in football, so I can do this for my kids next year also.

I’m trying hard not to make society worse and am doing well here, but could do more to help make my local community better.

Productivity and effectiveness

Not bad, not great.

Cultivated Management

I did SO few videoes this year for YouTube. I am disconnecting it a little from my management brand and to bring back a bit more fun in this respect.

Posted the Meeting Notes newsletter regularly which is good – and each edition gets posted on the blog also.

Also released by first ever printed zine called Take A Day Off. Very pleased with the outcome.

I’m still trying to avoid social media but feel I may need to do a little more. It does help, in a small way, to generate some traffic but I certainly get zero joy from it.

I will do what I need to do and spend more time with my family – and responding to emails from my lovely readers.

Stationery Freaks

Had a cracking year with the Stationery Freaks podcast – a real joy to record these and listener numbers are really shooting up.

We never have a shortage of ideas, in fact, we often have too many! We’ve also branched out into doing interviews, which have gone really well.

We are having a good time with this project – a lot of joy from it – and I think that comes through in the episodes.

Parent Brain

Temporarily killed this project for now. It’s been plaguing me for years and I love the idea (and domain name), so will hang onto it and see if I get any inspiration soon.


Rubbish year for photography – didn’t take many photos at all, but I have spent a lot of this year learning to do digital collages. I tend to use my own photos for this which is nice, but really want to get back to taking more photos.

Summing Up

It’s clear my health pillar underpins everything and it’s not, again, where it needs to be. I am spending too much time on other pillars and letting my health pillar crumble.

2024 is all about fixing this pillar. So, I need to choose another one to de-focus on for a while.

Hope this has been helpful and insightful. Have a wonderful festive break and New Year.

Take care of yourselves.

Rob. Winchester. Dec 2023