We often get caught up in the day to day tasks at hand. We check one thing off our to-do list and move right on to the next. Month after month goes by, and we know we've accomplished a lot, but it's hard for us to remember what all of those accomplishments were and come up with examples of accomplishments. Or, time goes by and we feel like we haven't accomplished a lot when in reality, we've probably done a lot more than we realize.
The truth is: a lot is asked of us in the workplace these days. It's important to be able to track our accomplishments throughout the year for a number of reasons.
Tracking your wins throughout the year, as they happen:
Puts you in a better position to ask for a raise when you're ready.
Makes it easier for you to provide accurate and thorough information when performance appraisal times rolls around.
Makes it much easier to update your resume when you're ready to explore new opportunities.
Gives you great fodder when it comes to speaking with peers and industry leaders by sharing what you've learned (vs. boasting about all that you've accomplished).
Helps you build an online presence as a professional in your field.
Gives distinct references when it comes to disagreements about your performance.
Gives you the opportunity to give yourself a pat on the back now and then! You deserve it.
What type of "wins" should you track?
Don't be shy. Track any and all work accomplishments throughout the year, from successful project completions to awards and recognition. You might even start your list with past awards, recognition and major accomplishments that may not be directly related to your job, but show qualities that employers appreciate.
Some examples of "wins" to track include:
Financial goals you've reached with analytics and results: Track any goals you've reached, how you've reached them and use facts and analytics as much as possible.
Difficult situations with co-workers that you successfully worked through and how you did it: If you had a challenging scenario with a positive result, note it for future reference, including the path you took for resolution.
Completing tasks and projects on time, and how you did it: Track any and all projects and tasks, even ones that you think are small.
Overcoming pressure: Include any times when you were under pressure and succeeded in meeting your goals.
Exceeding expectations: Track times when you know you exceeded expectations and why.
Holding an office or being on the board of a club or organization: This shows leadership and initiative even if the organization isn't an industry organization, per se.
Winning an award: Awards show value added and what others saw in you as well, especially when they're industry- or company-specific.
Being recognized by a club or organization: Being nominated as "Member of the Year" is pretty cool and can be significant, and even more so at times if it's an industry or company-specific organization.
What's the best way to track work accomplishments throughout the year?
Every individual is different, so don't go trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Find a way to track your work accomplishments that fits best for you. If you don't like writing in a journal, then an app might be best for you. Or if you don't have time to write or input, then maybe use a voice recorder. Some options to track your "wins" include:
Keep a handwritten journal: I like this method, as there is something about putting a pen or pencil to paper. Include the date and important details of the accomplishment.
Input into an app on your phone or tablet. I use Inkpad for Android on a regular basis for notes and tracking items such as accomplishments. I love it because it then sends my notes to my email, as well. Evernote is another good one.
Use a voice recorder. As you think of an accomplishment to include, or you just finished or received something to add, simply pick up your phone and talk into your voice or sound recorder app. You'll have the record to go back and refer to when you have time to add it to your list.
Write them on your calendar. A calendar is a great place to record "wins" on the day you accomplish or achieve them. All you need to do is add in what you did.
Continually add to your resume. Your resume need not be a static document. You can choose to continually update your resume with new awards and accomplishments. Doing this give you a record as well as an up-to-date resume when you need it.
Create an online portfolio. If you like to live and track everything online, you might want to make a personal website which you can constantly update.
Use LinkedIn consistently. LinkedIn can be a great place to track your accomplishments, assuming you post updates and keep your profile up-to-date with any new positions, awards, and so on. This gives others an idea of what you're up to in "real time" if you use it consistently.
Consider other social media options. Facebook and Twitter might be sites where you typically post to share your awards, accomplishments and so on. This then provides a permanent record. You'll want to be professional and humble with your post to avoid coming across as bragging or over-zealous, and it can also take some time to go back through all of your posts or tweets to identify your accomplishments. But, at least it’s documented somewhere.
However you choose to approach it, take action to record your work accomplishments as they happen. The more you track your wins throughout the year, the easier it will be to share or provide them when you need to. And if you believe your manager should be doing this for you–don't. They often have a lot on their plates, and it can be difficult for them to keep up with everything their employees are doing. Plus, they don't always see or know about the small stuff you do, and it all matters. You earned the credit. Now all you need to do is share it!
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