As the year starts coming to a close, many of us will be facing an annual or bi-annual performance review at our places of work in the next few months. It can be daunting to say the least, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned at my first post-grad job working for VINA, it’s how to set goals, prioritize tasks, and manage my time. So today, I’m going to share what I learned with you!
Setting achievable goals, making sure you’re prioritizing correctly, and managing your time effectively will ensure you can point to specific improvements in the way you work to impress your boss (and maybe ask for that raise you deserve)!
At VINA, our team tracks progress by setting quarterly goals and then breaking them down into deliverable tasks we can work on throughout the quarter. Even if your company doesn’t set this process up for you, you can still follow this pattern to set your own professional goals. This way, when the time comes to review, you can pinpoint exact actions you’ve taken to improve the way you work!
After coming up with 2-3 general goals, I then broke each one down into smaller actions I could take throughout the quarter to reach each goal. Trust me, breaking down general goals into specific tasks will make it soooo much easier to stay on track and know where you’re at in terms of reaching said goals. It also helps you ensure that the goal is actually attainable – if it will take too many steps to complete or too long before your next review, you may need to start a little smaller.
This is the trickiest part about setting multiple goals – deciding which ones are the most important. Sometimes, the goals might involve time-sensitive tasks that will take priority (i.e. a pre-planned public announcement). If you’re like me and working in a start-up environment where literally every single thing seems to be of upmost importance and time-sensitivity, it can be especially hard to prioritize. In this case, I suggest beginning with the tasks that will take the longest. I know you’re thinking Duh! But sometimes you need someone to tell you the simple things to realize how important they are.
If you’re really having trouble prioritizing, don’t be afraid to ask your superiors what they think! This is beneficial because it shows your boss that you’re setting goals (which is good) and they may have a clearer view of which goals are more important for the company as a whole.
The first tip to help you manage your time effectively is to set specific due dates for each individual task you’ve given yourself. Since you’ve already prioritized the most important goals and tasks, you’ll know which you should aim to complete first. This will help you know what you should be working on day to day.
This brings me to my next tip. Break down your tasks even further into tiny actions you can assign yourself daily to have them complete by their due-dates. Your daily to-do list should be composed of the smallest actions you need to take to complete tasks and then overall goals. If you put, “Improve social media engagement,” on your daily to-do list over and over, it will never get done. But if you put “Brainstorm social media strategies,” one day and then “Implement Strategy 1,” the next day and so forth, you’re way more likely to actually complete your task and achieve your goals.
Hopefully this advice helps you kill it at your next performance review! How to do you set goals, prioritize tasks, and manage your time? Share your tips in the comments!
(Feature image via Ban.do)