It had been open in a tab on my computer for over a week now, and I couldn’t put it off any longer: I had to fill out my end-of-quarter self assessment, for real. Oh, how I had tried! But each time it had quickly become painfully clear that I didn’t have a specific idea of what I had learned or what my favourite accomplishment was. I knew there had to be examples, but my mind was blank.
It was as if all my little victories and failures of the previous 3 months had never happened, and I was left only with metrics. Ticket touches, tickets solved, satisfaction score, but nothing to show for all that ticketing.
It took me more than 2 hours to complete the 5-question assessment (the most maddening, frustrating, and slow couple of hours in recent memory), and I decided to never put myself through that again.
Enter this advocate weekly review tool. It’s a very simple table with a few questions and prompts designed to capture aspects of my work days that I want to remember and explore:
- Wins and Pride: What am I proud of?
This one is a good way to start on a positive note, and keep a record of those times when I save someone’s day or figure out something tricky.
- Fails and Follow up: How did I fail? What’s my plan for following up?
A reminder to take risks and fail often! And to take responsibility with an action plan when I drop the ball.
- Resistance: What did I resist doing? Why?
Ah, the Resistance. Steven Pressfield’s concise way of describing the reason it’s so hard to go out of one’s comfort zone. We all know that’s where growth happens, and thinking about this helps me identify missed opportunities and understand why I avoided them.
- Learning: What did I learn? What’s my plan for the next thing I want to learn?
I look stuff up, test things, and ask colleagues many times a day. This is a place to save what I find out and to get ready to learn more.
Between my tendency to put my head down and get those tickets done and the high volume of requests we get, it’s hard to spend time outside the queue. I manage to do it occasionally, and this is where I can log that and make time for more of it. Everything involving more than 2 steps is a project, which is a reminder that (1) I can find the time to work on stuff between tickets, and (2) little projects count!
- On-holds review
This section is related to the Resistance and Learning, as it forces me to review any tickets I’ve been avoiding and tackle them already. Usually leads to some pretty satisfying wins!
Last but not least, this is how I stay on track. I can’t imagine relying on someone else to tell me how I’m doing, and this provides me with an opportunity to check my progress regularly. This makes it easy to spot unwanted trends and correct course if needed. There are much better things to talk about at one-on-ones than metrics!
Using the tool consistently is still a bit of a struggle, but even if some weeks I only use one or two sections, it’s been very useful. It’s an excellent way to make sure I’m engaged at work, collect work stories (for quarterly reviews? future job interviews?), and manage my own career and growth.
My future self is grateful.