Value in the “Circle Back”

Let’s take a moment this week to circle back on some topics we covered earlier this year. “Circle back” is one of those corporate buzz words that makes us cringe, roll our eyes or both. But there is some value in revisiting, closing the loop or general follow up. 

How many times do we hear the phrase “circle back” compared to how often we actually do it? I bet the result is not a ratio we would be really excited to publish. This is often a byproduct of busyness. 

Cultivating Relationships

We are going full throttle on the next thing, barely acknowledging or celebrating past accomplishments. We contribute to the meal train when someone has a death in their family, but do we come back the next month – when things get really quiet for them after the funeral rush is over? Or a lighter example, we recommend a book or TV show to a friend, but then don’t every ask if they liked it or not. 

A benefit of the circle back is to create connection with others. Relationships are a component of the Mental Well-being dimension of Sustainable Productivity. Who cares if we have a bright shiny life if we are disconnected from all the people in our lives? 

Some experts say that addiction is partly caused by disconnection and disengagement. Numbing out and escaping your life is also disconnection and disengagement. The antidote for this is connection – the circle back. 


I wonder if you are like me, making up stories when I don’t have all the details. 

  • Someone does not call me back so I assume they are mad at me (or dead in a car wreck if it is one of my kids). 
  • Silence after applying for a freelance opportunity means either my email is broken or they hate my writing. 
  • Delayed results from the doctor’s office means catastrophic news that they needed to run by another team before breaking to me.

While these are all pretty extreme examples, it demonstrates clearly that the open loops leave room for confusion and chaos at best. Getting in the habit of closing the loop with people can help manage that stress. Surrounding yourself with people who do that for you can help you feel more connected. 

It does not have to be a big hairy deal. Which is what I want to show today with a few follow ups of my own.

Podcast Set up

A few weeks ago I presented a case study on environmental productivity, which showed me podcasting from the floor. I looked on Facebook Marketplace and our local buy nothing group and made the decision to buy new from Target. The price was not going to be much more than what I saw on Marketplace, plus I got what I wanted instead of settling. 

Of course I kept the toy box. Now it is the on deck circle for the next couple craft projects in line. 

Word of the Year 

Next let’s circle back to the word of the year. Oh yeahhh!!!! Remember that? Mine is equanimity, and I have received several opportunities to practice this. Sometimes that has been literally, like the inversions workshop I took and the headstand/handstand practice sessions at home now. 

Sometimes this year equanimity has been more of a figurative approach. Sending our daughter to Italy for study abroad or adjusting to be a single income family were major adjustments that our family has had so far in 2023. I bet with about a quarter of the year left, there will be more um, “opportunities” to practice this mindset. 

Plastic storage containers

Back in February of this year, I was so pleased with myself for overhauling our plastic storage containers. It was such a beautiful results. Well, as we circle back on this one, cue the sad music.

Womp, wommmmmp.

It is again out of control in the drawer. The system for putting away as I unload the dishwasher was not sustainable. I will take a crack at it again this winter probably. But you know what DID work from that exercise? Separating out the to go containers. There have been several times when our young adult kids and their friends came for lunch or dinner. We were able to easily pack up leftovers for them. By re-using these take out containers, it is no big deal if they never make it back to our house (the containers, not the kids).

Those are a few of the circle back items I wanted to share with you today. There is value in revisiting hits and misses. Misses don’t mean the decision was wrong necessarily, just not quite a hit. It just gives us data on where else we might be able to make adjustments. But without that feedback loop that naturally happens with a circle back, we don’t get that data and we blindly stumble along. That is what can lead to frustration and the need to numb out of our lives. 

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. When is the last time you followed up or revisited a goal or decision?
  2. What was your word of the year? It is not too late to resurrect it. Or if it is no longer serving you, let it go.
  3. How can circling back on people, places, things, decisions serve you where you are in life right now?

Until next time remember to create results in a way that you can sustain and that are productive for you.