One of the fundamental parts of doing self-retros is making notes day by day. So it comes with the need to have a habit of tracking stuff the at regular time. Because I am adopting self-retro also for personal stuff it was necessary to do it twice a day - once before leaving the work and once on the very end of the day. Occasionally I forgot to write down part about personal stuff mainly because I was enjoying time with my kids, girlfriend and forgot to all the commitments. So I tried to private recovery part on next morning, and it was not so good because I usually forgot to something during the night.
The second primary experience was that I have started with writing notes to the paper notebook, and it was quite useful. Instead of the need to open PC or notebook/tablet/phone and try to use some application (I am not sure even if I would be able some useful app to find) it was super comfortable to use paper and some color markers. Because it’s giving to you so many variants how the stuff will look it was funny to observe how is my approach changing in time. Once it was text notes, once notes with pictures, smileys and in other time, it were illustrations without any text. After all, I doubt that some application has such variability. And doing a retrospective on that variable designed pages was also quite entertaining.
I did one retro on Friday afternoon, one on Monday morning and last four on Sunday afternoon. With Friday afternoon, I had a problem because it was too long to have the opportunity perform some action from the list. And it wasn’t taking into account part of the weekend. On Monday morning, I was not satisfied with not available time something to do with personal items from the list. So I believe that if you are doing self-retro also for personal stuff, the time for do it’s Sunday afternoon. If you identify that you miss something personally important, you still have some time to do something with it. For work stuff, you have another perspective than doing it immediately after work with possible tiredness or frustration. And you are prepared for Monday morning with some list of items so you can start working immediately.
From agile retrospectives, I know that if you are not ending retro with the list of things to be done, new approaches to be followed, tickets raised, it’s not useful retrospective. So to have the clear list with stuff to do, stuff which has some priority was my first goal. Also, I realized that it’s almost necessary to praise myself for such good work on that week to have a feeling that my work/personal balance is acceptable for my living. It’s common that human can forget bad things and do self-retros helps with seeing things which didn’t work properly and identify stuff for improvement. After rethinking achieved things on that particular week, I had sometimes feeling that something important was missing. And I realized that I forgot to do something which only in my mind for weeks but without placing such activity to any list I always forgot to do it. Nice.
Third week was most challenging
I don’t know exactly why, but I had problems with my routine in the third week. Maybe it was because I did not see direct influence to my life, some tedious tasks overwhelmed me, or I obviously haven’t done anything on some of the day. Or doubts about benefits of doing it. Weird. The fourth week was average without anomalies and started to be so useful so don’t understand much, maybe you can have some insights how it was possible.
What will be next?
If I can assess doing self-retro, it’s interesting and useful technique if I am doing it on the regular basis. It mainly helps achieve some work/personal life balance. It successfully beat feeling “I haven’t done anything today”. It helps to focus on essential things firstly. So, useful, I recommend it for everyone. As I started with pomodoro technique before doing self-retros, it was quite easy to adopt it because I had actual work done on the detailed list already. I’ll stick to these to enhancements of my life because it has proven that it works and helps but as always I am open to anything else which can be even more useful. Do you know about something better?
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P.S.2 Cover by pete nowicky|unsplash.com. Thanks.