When was the last time you had a personal progress review?
Are you not quite sure what that is?
If you’ve worked in the corporate world, you’ve likely had a performance review at some time—or many times—during your career. In a performance review, someone, generally a supervisor or manager or other person in a position of authority over you, tells you how well they think you met their expectations in your job.
A personal progress review is similar, but obviously much more personal. You can use your personal progress review to give yourself a check-up for your personal life, your professional life or both.
I try and conduct a personal progress review at least quarterly. It doesn’t always happen right on time, but as I’ve worked to develop this habit, I have seen a definite uptick in my productivity and a shortening of the time it takes me to finish projects and achieve goals.
Another reason for conducting my personal progress review is that, by regularly setting aside time to review, analyze and focus on my personal and professional goals, I keep them fresh in my mind. I keep my current goal/project list on my office wall where I can see it every day, and be reminded of where I’m going. Tucking them away in a drawer or computer file, makes it easy to forget them—out of sight, out of mind, as the old saying goes.
Here’s How I Conduct My Personal Progress Review
I’m a list maker and a goal setter, so I start with my current project list and with my goals.
I first check off any goals or projects that are complete. I ask myself:
- Did they turn out as I expected or planned?
- What do I especially like?
- What could I do differently in the future?
- What did I learn from this?
Then I look at the ones still in progress and ask myself these questions:
- Am I close to my timetable for this goal?
- If not, why not?
- In order to get back on track and accomplish this, do I need to alter my plan or change any of the steps?
- What can I do to improve the original plan?
- What can I learn from my progress (or lack of)?
- Is it something that is still relevant for me?
- If not, why is it still on my list?
After answering these questions, I make the necessary adjustments. You may notice that my questions are skewed toward positive thinking. While I’m not a Pollyanna and I readily admit my shortcomings, I find it to be counterproductive to spend my review time beating myself up because I haven’t accomplished everything on my list. Personal progress reviews are more effective when we focus on the progress, and how to make progress, instead of focusing on our shortcomings.
I remove the completed goals and celebrate them if I haven’t already. I update the goals still in progress as needed. And then I look at my plan and see where I want to make new goals, if that’s appropriate at this time.
I also spend time reviewing what I have learned from achieving or not achieving my goals during this period, and use that information to direct my personal improvement.
When I remember to regularly hold my personal progress review, I have increased motivation to work toward my goals and I feel good about the progress I am making. How about you? Do you conduct regular personal progress reviews, whether by that name or another? How is working for you? How has holding a regular review impacted your life or business? Please share your thoughts.