Jack was feeling stuck in life. Last year was rough. He didn’t think he could change jobs. His relationship felt stagnant. He didn’t know where he could make changes in his life. He needed to review the past year, but didn’t know how.
Jack needed an After Action Review.
The After Action Review asks a serious of 5 questions designed to guide an objective assessment of, well, almost anything. The questions are:
Steps of an After Action Review
1) What Did I Get Done That I Wanted to Get Done
Like it sounds, did you do what you wanted to get done? Don’t worry about the quality of what you did. Just did you do it.
2) What Didn’t I Get Done That I Wanted to Get Done
Like question 1, what didn’t you do that you wanted to do. Don’t worry about why it didn’t happen. Just note that it didn’t happen.
3) What Did I Do Well
Here is when we start looking at quality. What things did you do well? It doesn’t matter if it relates to something you did or didn’t do. It doesn’t even matter if it didn’t apply to any particular to-do item. If it was part of your process and you did it well, it goes here.
Don’t focus on outcomes here. Just because you checked off the to-do item doesn’t mean you did it well. And you might have done the best possible and still not checked off an item on your to-do list.
4) What Didn’t I Do Well
Now we look at the reverse of question 3. What things didn’t you do well? It doesn’t matter if it relates to something you did or didn’t do. It doesn’t even matter if it didn’t apply to any particular to-do item. If it was part of your process and you didn’t do it well, it goes here.
Don’t focus on the outcomes here. Even if you met the to-do list item, if you could have done better, it goes here.
5) How Can I Use This Review Going Forward
Look back over your answers. What jumps out to you? Are there any patterns or themes – or does this connect to any other patterns or themes in your life? How can you use this to help you moving forward?
What did you do well that you can keep doing well?
How can you improve – or avoid – things you didn’t do well so you do better next time?
Sometimes, we get stuck with deeper underlying roadblocks and can’t find the way forward. That’s ok! We all need to talk to someone at times. It can be a trusted friend or a professional counselor, talking to someone can help move through persistent roadblocks.