The benefits of self-performance tracking are numerous. It broadens your soft skills, keeps you motivated, spurs on personal growth and development and ensures you are meeting your goals. But tracking your own performance can also have another benefit: You can use your tracking data to leverage career growth.
Tracking self-performance will not only make you feel accomplished, but will maximize career rewards. According to Bruce Tulgan, founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc. and author of the book The Art of Being Indispensable at Work, the more closely you track your performance, the more power you will have to seek guidance, direction and coaching, identify resource needs and justify requests. It will help you evaluate your own performance against supervisor expectations and in setting ambitious, but meaningful goals and deadlines so that you can gain more responsibility. You can also use this data to help your boss link your high performance to increased rewards.
Here are three strategies for tracking your own performance:
Keep a time log.
Tulgan says keeping a time log is a great way to get a reality check on how you are using your time, and find out where you might be wasting time. He says the key to successfully keeping a time log is instead of trying to remember what you were doing for the past several hours, keep a running list. “Don’t write every breath you take, just note every time you change tasks,” he says. Another benefit of the time log is it provides data when your boss approaches you with a new project; you can use that data to confidently say whether you have time on your schedule to take the project on or not.
Track your projects and achievements.
When you start a new project, detail the plan and take notes at each step along the way so that you can see how your actions are lining up with the plan. What have you done to bring a project to the next level? Where could you sharpen your skills? Then, keep copies of all of your reports, slideshows, presentations, etc.; anything that physically shows the product of your work. Bonus points if you set up an online portfolio.
Inventory your abilities and skills.
Start off by writing down your natural abilities and skills, and be sure to include technical and soft skills. But then drill down a bit deeper: Tulgan suggests considering how those skills are applicable to current tasks and responsibilities, and how you are actually applying them; what your weaknesses are and how to mitigate those weaknesses; what your gaps are and how you can bridge those gaps. You might also consider marking down what kinds of things motivate you and what kinds of things you tend to avoid or procrastinate. Revisit this list often, and show how you’ve improved.
Using tracking to leverage career growth
Tulgan says the best way to ask for a promotion is to show what you are doing currently, and then ask what you need to do to earn a next step. Then use the data you’re collecting from your tracking system to provide evidence of tangible results and demonstrate your skills. “Every manager wants someone who is a self-starting high performer who doesn’t need a manager,” Tulgan says.
You can also go into your one-on-one with tangible evidence of what you have accomplished. “You can have your own agenda,” Tulgan says. “You can tell them, ‘Here is what I did, here is where I am on the plan, this is my tracking and here is what I plan to do next.”
Tulgan says self-performance tracking is only useful if it’s done regularly. “These are living, breathing tools,” he says. “It isn’t a trophy, it’s a process. You are documenting the process of getting better and better. It’s not, ‘This is what I’ve done.’ It’s, ‘This is what I’m doing.’” If you get in the habit of regular self-evaluation against external standards, he says, you can build greater self-awareness in yourself so you can support your own learning and growth going forward.
Meet with an Ivy Exec Career Coach to build a plan for tracking and sharing your achievements for career growth.