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Five Awesome Annual Review Tips

Five Awesome Annual Review Tips

Being employed full-time means we’re subject to our performance at work being reviewed. This is commonly done on an annual basis–each year, we are given some kind of performance review to see how we’re doing from our employer’s perspective. Let’s have a look at some tips on how you can make your annual review go well.

Keep Track Of Achievements Throughout The Year

One of the main discussion points of your annual review will be what you have achieved over the last twelve months. This list should contain the good things you’ve done for the company.

However, a year in your job can be a long time. It can be hard to remember what you’ve done in the last year when you’re organizing your review. A great way to help remember is to keep notes on what you’ve done as you do them. Don’t wait until the end of the year to make this list.

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As you do good things at work, make a note of them. This can be a simple note, such as a project delivery, or a good idea that was picked up, or some important task you had to do. At the end of the year, you can look at this list, and it will jog your memory as to what your actual achievements were.

Just make sure you keep it in a place you’ll remember!

Mention How You Made Or Saved Money

Companies are very focused on two things: making money through what they do, and saving money while doing it. If you can link your achievements to either of these items, it can be a big help.

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Making money for the company could be part of your job. If you have sales targets or similar measures, you can mention these if you’ve met or exceeded them. If you did some work that involved bringing more business to the company, such as finding a new client or a new project, mention this in your review.

Alternatively, if you’ve saved your company money, you should mention this. Improving processes, finding better ways to do things, or negotiating new prices for services are all examples of things you may have done to reduce expenses for a company. If anything you’ve done has saved money for the company, mention it as well.

Talk About Your Focus On Development And Goals

Employers expect that their employees improve their skills and get better at their jobs. They often provide training and other initiatives to help this. A good thing to mention on your annual review is how you’ve achieved any goals that were set, either by yourself or by your manager. These could be performance goals or any other targets that have been set.

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Related to this, development of staff is also an area they are likely concerned with. If you’ve done anything to improve your skills, such as training or certifications, write this down. Even if the company has paid for it, the fact you have completed it shows you’re focused on these goals and improving yourself.

Set Goals For The Next Period

For you to be able to meet the goals in your previous year, you need to set them. Set some goals for yourself for the upcoming twelve months, and make them known to your employer. Some goals you could set can involve:

  • Training and development goals. List any training you’d like to do, or any certifications you wish to complete.
  • Projects and timelines. Completing projects by certain dates is an important but risky goal. It will need some assessment before the review, but mentioning the project work you’re doing and the dates you’d like to deliver it by can be a good goal.
  • Career and role development. This is more to do with your position and your career, but if you’ve set up a career plan, you should mention how you’re going to take the next step toward it. For example, if you’d like to be a team leader eventually, mention what steps you’re going to take to get that kind of position.

Include Areas to Improve

Nobody is perfect at their job. Some people are very good, yes, but there is still room for improvement in us all. A good way to help your annual review is to include some areas in which you can improve. They don’t need to be big areas, but including one or two areas can show your employer that you’re self-aware and looking to progress. They could be areas such as contributing to discussions in meetings, improving communication skills, or learning how to use a certain piece of software better.

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Annual reviews are an important part of our role. Making sure we do a good job of informing our manager about what we have done and what we have planned will ensure we get the most benefit from them.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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