Dr. Kim Burns

Reflection Tools For Higher Ed Leaders

Anyone who has spent a New Year’s Eve with me knows I enjoy reflecting on the past year. I (gently) nudge whoever I’m with to fill out a homemade worksheet with prompts about the past year.

When the boys were little, the prompts included favorites like snacks, toys, games, movies, books, and friends. I would make a version for grownups that included the best memories, places visited, and interesting experiences. Now that the boys are older, I just make one version. I keep them and include them in our scrapbooks and I enjoy looking back on how we have grown and matured. 

For the uber-reflective types, check out YearCompass, a free downloadable 20-page booklet. This year they added a 2020 Pandemic Supplement. To make the most of this tool, you will need 2-3 hours of quiet time. I did this one last night and, while I enjoyed it, I was reflected out by the time I finished it. 

For the list makers, check out Gretchen Rubin’s popular 21 for 2021 list. She provides a template you can download to make a list of 21 concrete things you want to accomplish by the end of 2021.

Planning Tools For College Leaders

I’ve never liked making New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know why. Making them just never resonated with me. I get much more excited at the start of a new academic year in September than I do in January. So in August I bought PowerSheets and spent a day planning for the academic year ahead.

Powersheets is the first goal planner I’ve liked and actually used. I just happened to be alone one Sunday and spent the afternoon on the porch with a cup of tea and started with the first 30 pages of reflection, which focus on who I am at this time of my life and what is important to me. Then, I set my goals for the year. 

My goals fall into the following categories:

The beauty of PowerSheets is that they set me up to break down annual goals into tasks for each month on what they call a “tending list.”

So not only do I break down my annual goals into manageable chunks each month, but I can track what I’ve accomplished by the month and the quarter. 

How are you reflecting on 2020 and planning for 2021?

I’d love to hear from you, especially if you have techniques or tools to share. 

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