To anyone who loves top 10 lists, the end of the year is like, well, Christmas. Everyone from Buzzfeed writers to scientific researchers are busy compiling lists about the biggest TV moments, the worst financial trends and the most popular tweets of the year. 

The annual Google Trends list is particularly interesting to me. It’s a compilation of the most popular search topics for the year. Google shares a few different lists, like the most-searched people (Demi Lovato and Meghan Markle) and the most-searched food (unicorn cake).  

Another category is the 10 most-searched news stories of the year. In the United States, they were:

10. Government shutdown
9. Winter Olympics medal count
8. Royal wedding
7. Parkland, Florida school shooting
6. Kavanaugh confirmation
5. Hurricane Michael
4. Midterm election results
3. Mega Millions
2. Hurricane Florence
1. The World Cup

I love these lists because I think they help us see the year as a whole. I don’t know about you, but by December, I can barely remember what happened in June, let alone January. Reviewing the top stories helps me think back across 2018 – its highs and its lows. Because the Google data focuses on what people most searched for, these lists show us what we as a nation were most concerned about or interested in this year. Of all the things that happened during this truly wild and unpredictable year (an understatement, I think), those 10 topics grabbed people’s attention more than any others. 

So here’s my big question: What were your top 10 stories of 2018?  

I’m not talking about the news stories that most interested you this year. I’m talking about the biggest headlines from your own life. Looking back over your 2018, what were the 10 biggest events, hurdles or accomplishments that you spent the most time and energy focused on?  

I ask because I think this time, right at the end of the year, is the perfect moment to get really clear about meaningful priorities and time management. I know a lot of people are already thinking about making productive New Year’s resolutions and sticking to them, which is great (and I’ll be sharing some thoughts about that topic soon!). But reflecting on the things that were most important and meaningful during the previous year can help you shape your focus for the next year.  

Write out your own list, starting with one and working your way back to 10. It helps to pull out the calendar here to remind you what you did. One way to get really clear about what deserves a spot on your list is to think about it this way: if you were catching up an old friend on your life in 2018, what 10 things would you mention? Were family victories or challenges at the top of the list? Did a work project get top billing, or did a dream vacation outrank all professional events? 

When your list is completed, look it over and think about what you hope your year-end list will look like at the end of 2019. Maybe this year was so wonderful that you want more of the same next year. That’s wonderful! Maybe this year was hard and you’re frustrated by the things you didn’t get done. If so, use that realization to help you set more productive New Year’s resolutions for next year.  

Either way, I hope you can spend some time feeling proud of everything you made happen in 2018. As you start looking ahead to next year, take advantage of my Jump Start Your Productivity Home Study program, which includes all the tools and materials that you need to break through to the next level of productivity in your life and start the New Year strong. 

Keep an eye out for my next post, where I’ll be talking more about setting and keeping those productive New Year’s resolutions. In the meantime, I wish you and your family a joyful and restful holiday season.

Sarah Reiff-Hekking

I’m Sarah Reiff-Hekking, Ph.D. speaker, coach and founder of True Focus Coaching. I have over 20 years‘ experience helping professionals and entrepreneurs get to the next level in their lives and businesses through managing their time and focus.
Sarah Reiff-Hekking