Keep track of accomplishments

“The palest ink is better than the best memory.” — Chinese proverb

This pithy maxim is very true, especially in corporate environments. It always makes sense to keep a running track of your work, especially milestones and achievements. Situations when this is the most useful:

1. When preparing weekly project status reports.

2. Getting ready for the annual performance reviews, so that you do not have to spend hours trying to recall everything that you did in the last year or going through every email communication from the past year. The list can also help in filling up gaps in the manager’s list of your work during such reviews.

3. When updating your resume from time-to-time so that you do not miss a mention of your smallest yet critical and impactful contributions.

4. When you want to perform a status check on your career from time to time (daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually, annually). This list can provide insightful evidence and answer questions such as “where do I spend the most of my time”, “are my achievements in the right direction”, “is this where I want my career to go” and so on.

If you are managing other people, this list extends into keeping track of their work as well. Anyone who works for you will be pleasantly surprised if during performance review, you point out a small but important contribution that he or she did not think about. I have found that this habit makes the whole review process much faster, easier and more accurate.

It is a good habit to cultivate, both for the manager and the managed.

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