Close out 2018 as an instructional designer – how do you do it? I’ve got a list, but I want to know what you’re doing to wrap up your year with a nice little bow.
Stop reading, drop down to the comments,
and tell me how you are planning to close out 2018.
Welcome back and thank you for leaving a comment below. Today, I want to share the 7 ways that I will be closing out 2018 as an instructional designer. Many people treat the last week of the year like the first week and every other week of the year but I suggest handling the week differently.
In fact, I have ideas on what you should do the last month, the first month and each quarter. And, I will share those thoughts with you next week as we launch into January. The last month of the year is an important one. It isn’t just a time to enjoy the holidays. It’s also a time to evaluate how the year went and what you might do differently in 2019.
Let’s dig in and see what this Trainologist will be doing for the remainder of the year. Hopefully, you will be doing these things with me.
Close Out 2018 Tip #1: Check Goals
This week, later today in fact, I will be reviewing my goals for the year and Q4 that I set for myself and my instructional design business. Why goals? The quote by Lewis Carroll, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” comes to mind when I think of why we need goals. Goals tell us where we are going. Your review of your goals let’s you know whether or not you arrived where you wanted to go.
Goals are an integral part of your career path as an instructional designer. It doesn’t matter if you working for a corporation or as a freelancer. You need goals and you need to check them regularly. End your year and your quarter with a thorough evaluation of your goals.
Did you complete your goals? Did anything get in your way? Could you have done something differently? The point of asking these questions is to develop and grow yourself. It’s not about punishing yourself. The point is to be better today than yesterday. Better next year than this year.
Close Out 2018 Tip #2: Review Processes
One of the sayings that used to drive me bonkers in the workplace was, “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” When I hear someone say that, it feels like fingernails scratching down the chalkboard. It gives me shivers just type that. ICK.
One way to avoid becoming one of those people is to conduct an annual review of how you do things. Do you have a set practice for intaking a new project? Do you have a standard process for scoping the needs of a training? Do you have a set practice for designing your training project? If you answered no to any of these questions, you need to fix that but that isn’t the topic for today and you can check out my Instructional Design Lab for help with those things.
Whatever processes you do have in place for things, review them. Do they still work? Is there a change that you can implement to make those processes easier for you? Easier for your client (another department, the project owner, or a business owner, if you are freelancer)? Take a look and see what you can improve and improve it.
Our work environments are dynamic and changing all of the time. Odds are that our processes need to be tweaked along with those changes.
Close Out 2018 Tip #3: Organize Files
Man, oh man can files get out of control! When they are out of control, no one knows where the latest version is or where the file is located at all. Go through all of your files and make sure they are stored in a centralized location with the latest versions. Make sure that the old files are all archived so that they are never confused with the latest and greatest version.
This sounds like so simple of a task, but I work with people all of the time who are not great at file management or versioning. Wouldn’t it be great to start 2019 with a clean, organized file management system?
Close Out 2018 Tip #4: Review Courses
I don’t know if you have experienced this or not, but I have many times. Once a training course goes into an LMS system or is distributed to a base of users, it is forgotten. The information gets outdated, but users are still expected to use it.
Part of the problem is that annual reviews are not set up or planned. Every training project that is created should have an expiration or review date. The end of the year is a great time to put the courses through a review.
You might do it personally or you might reach out the person who requested the training project be created to ask them to do a review of the training. Any edits that need to be made can get prioritized in your workload for 2019.
Close Out 2018 Tip #5: Conduct a Retrospective
In Scrum Agile, there is something called a Retrospective, a Retro for short. A Retro is a meeting that takes place at the end of each iteration, or sprint, to identify three things:
- What went well?
- What didn’t work well?
- What could be done better next time?
I recommend you conduct a Retro at the end of the year and go through these questions by yourself and with the team, if you work with one. Reflect on the entire year. It’s a great way to remind yourself and/or the team where you started and where you ended. Was it a good year, a disappointing one, or just meh?
The Retro can prepare you for the next activity on my list for closing out 2018, too.
Close Out 2018 Tip #6: Celebrate Accomplishments
Celebrate your personal accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if they were huge or small. Find things to celebrate about your work. Did you complete a training project? Celebrate. Did you get your first freelance gig? Celebrate. Did you exceed the number of projects your boss had planned for you? Celebrate. Did one of your training projects positively impact a key company metric? Celebrate.
Celebrating your successes reminds you that what you are doing matters to you and to others. If you lead a team, get the team together and have them whiteboard all of their successes for the year so that they can visually see how impactful their work has been to the company. Then, give them a good ole pat on the back.
Most of the time, we are only reminded of some shortcoming or deviation from perfection. Stop that ugly and focus on the positive instead. Celebrate every accomplishment that you can.
Close Out 2018 Tip #7: Plan 2019
Again, you’ve got to know where you are going in order to get there so plan, plan, PLAN! Create your game plan for 2019. Where do you expect to go? And, what do you need to do to get there? This is so important to your success as an employee, a team leader, or as freelancer.
Between now and next week, put some thought about what you want to achieve in 2019. Next week, I will walk you through how to organize your thoughts into a game plan that will help you win in 2019. In fact, if you are hoping I will put something specific into next week’s post about planning 2019, be sure to leave me a comment below so that I can see if it works with what I have in mind.
Until next week, close out 2018 with a bow with these 7 key activities.
My free Facebook Group is a great place to add your questions and engage with other instructional designers on different topics related to instructional design, so jump on in and join the conversation.