For some people, a job is just a way to make money so that they can do whatever else they enjoy doing. It’s like a necessary evil, if you will. But there are people (maybe you included) who actually care what they do and how that affects the world around them, even if only within their industry.
Regardless of whether you work as an IT expert, teacher, designer or accountant, or whether you work for a multibillion-dollar international corporation or as a freelancer, there are certain metrics for how well you’re doing your job. The problem is that many people don’t know how to go about measuring their effectiveness at work.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of several easy things you can do to track your progress and measure your success. These self-evaluation tactics will not only give you an idea of how productive you really are, but will also help you in deciding how you can improve your performance in the future.
1. Set Up Goals
If you haven’t already, you should make setting up goals your number one habit when it comes to work. And optimally, you should do it every day. It’s best if you prioritize your objectives according to how important they are and how urgently they need to be finished. This will give you very clear guidelines of what you need to do each day and when your deadlines are.
But how will this help with your self-evaluation? Well, you can know what you’ve finished each day and whether that was enough. You’ll be able to compare the results this week to the ones from the previous week and see if you’re doing better and by how much.
This can be really easy if you use some sort of productivity tracker app. Some providers rely on gamification to help drive the productivity so the whole process can even be fun. Of course, you can do it the old-fashioned pen-and-paper way, too. You’ll get a lot of insights and goal tracking either way. And let’s not forget that writing down goals will also prevent you from forgetting important (or less important) tasks.
As an additional benefit, ticking off tasks that you’ve completed provides a lot of satisfaction in goal-oriented people. Knowing that you’ve completed everything you should have will give you purpose that can increase your motivation and productivity.
2. Ask for a Review
Depending on the company you’re working with, chances are that you already go through some form of evaluation process regularly. Maybe it’s a performance report or a talk with an HR. If this is the case, try to get the most of it.
Some employers use employee tracking software to monitor computer use activity. Daunting as it may sound, this system can actually be very useful for employee evaluations, because it offers time tracking for projects, daily productivity tracker, time spent in apps or on particular tasks, and other objective metrics that can give you detailed insights into your performance.
If your employer is using computer monitoring software, ask them if they could include some of this data in your evaluation. Speak up if you want more details. For example, if you want to know how well you’re doing a certain task and whether you’re improving over time, ask the people evaluating you to include this detail in the future evaluations. Also, don’t be afraid to ask further questions.
If you happen to work for a company that doesn’t do evaluations, ask for one. It doesn’t have to be formal or scheduled, just a simple question along the lines of ‘Are you satisfied by how I do X?’ goes a long way in gauging your progress and productivity. Similarly, if you’re a freelancer, you can ask your clients for feedback and reviews.
3. Get Insights from Employee Tracking Software
Even if your company isn’t using employee monitoring or you work as a freelancer, you can install the system yourself. Most of the employee tracking software out there support a one-employee deal, and some of them even offer it for free.
With this software, you’ll get a time tracker so that you can measure your efficiency and improvement, but you can also use it as a personal productivity tracker. Either way, you’ll get lots of data that are objective. Use it to track your progress and pinpoint areas for improvement.
4. Write a Journal of Progress
Writing a progress journal can be used in combination with all or some of the previous tactics. The things you write about will depend on what you want to track and measure. They could include time spent on some tasks, whether you finished the project on time or not (and if not, include the reasons), etc. You can write down any feedback from employers, clients or colleagues you got that you considered especially valuable.
You don’t have to write every day, but the more often you write, the better. And include as much detail as you can.
If you want to know whether you’re doing a good job, there are a number of ways you can go about it. We’ve mentioned some, but you’re encouraged to go ahead and experiment with other ones as well. You’ll see after a while that self-evaluation will not only help you estimate how productive and efficient you are, but will also give you guidelines on how you can improve. So, get to it and good luck!