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Lay off the dairy and more holding, please

February 15, 2011

When it comes to life, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Time on this earth is limited, and is often one of our most precious and easily squandered commodities. While it’s a fruitless exercise to predict what’s around every corner a little planning, including establishing short and long-term goals, is a great idea. It’s also a good idea to conduct regular performance reviews, outside of any that may already be required by your employer.

My 2 1/2 month old is currently my #1 job. And just the other day as he laid on his changing table I asked him how things were going (our own version of a performance review). Was I changing his diaper adequately? How about food – was the milk to his liking? We went down the list – likes, dislikes, favorite toys and places to be. Feedback was limited but I’m pretty sure I got more useful feedback and advice than I ever received from my previous employer.

Kidding aside, whether your job is at home or outside of it it’s a great exercise to spend even a few minutes evaluating your current situation and making plans for the future. It’s all too easy to fall into a rut and be asking ourselves how to get out of it. Quite likely there’s something in our daily processes we could do to change things, and we won’t know until we conduct a little performance review and establish goals to improve.

Some jobs have built-in review systems but in my experience they’re more often designed to check a box than actually improve employee satisfaction, customer service and workplace performance. So regardless of what your job requires (whether your job is being a wife, mom, or working for a company), performance reviews should be highly personal and employee directed. Think through your days – how you’re spending your time, what you accomplish, and your typical tasks. And then cross-reference these with your job objectives (if you don’t know what these are, it’s definitely a good idea to ask your boss). Maybe things mesh perfectly, but most likely you’ll want to reorient to help your day actually work for you, and help you better accomplish the tasks at hand.

Personal workplace evaluations take on even greater importance when you’re not getting a lot of feedback from your boss (whether because he or she is an infant incapable of complex communication or your workplace supervisor who only acts that way). Never fall into the trap that it’s your boss’ responsibility to provide professional development opportunities. Some do, but ultimately the ball is in your court to ensure you’re meeting day-to-day tasks as well as staying on track to move forward and advance.

In today’s economy, it’s tougher than ever to compete in the workplace. Standouts will take the time to assess, evaluate, and get themselves on track through evaluation and planning. For myself, I plan to shed seconds off of my diaper changing speed, decrease my caffeine intake and write more for this blog for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. What about you?

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