How to Keep a Goals Journal #5: Review

So you have your mission statement – the target you are working towards, and the steps you are going to take to get there.

Now it is your opportunity to review your progress. Review is probably the most important part of the journal as it keeps you in check, and tells you whether everything is worthwhile, whether you are achieving any thing. If not you may need to look for a different motivator.

Above is an example of my review page.

So what do I do?

Firstly I review my daily goals (the tick boxes that I’ve used in trying to develop habits). My average is 3/5. The one I fall down on is NOT buying a coffee, but making one. Unfortunately – red cups are now on sale. so fat chance until after christmas.

Secondly I review my prongs (the specific targets for that week). In my notebook I’ve split these between personal (home) ones and Career (work) ones. How many did I do? Those that I did not do I write out again to try again the following week.

And finally I review this list that I’ve re-written. I note how long they’ve been undone, if they are still relevant and assess whether if I can break it down into smaller tasks.

E.g. I need new glasses. but to get new glasses I need to have an eye test but to get an eye test I need to book an appointment. The booking of the appointment is what goes on the list, not get new glasses.

How to Keep a goals Journal #4: The Daily & Weekly Goals

It is a well-known concept that if you want to build up a habit do it over a period of 30 days. I use a daily goals table at the beginning of each week to keep track of things I want to do everyday (mainly habits I am trying to develop).

The key is keep it simple: I just sketch out a rough grid putting days at the top, goals at the side and tick them off.

On the following pages I then set out my objectives for the week. 3 or 4 things that will help me on my way. For example:

Goal: To make more friends at work
Weekly objectives:

  1. Lunch – eat lunch with different people as often as possible.
  2. chat with everyoneattempt to learn one new thing about everyone (and remember it)
  3. attend / organise a social
  4. join an internal club/group/organisation

You should try to plan you week. Take half an hour at the beginning of the week to think about what you want/can achieve. It is not a to-do list you don’t need to get everything done. If you don’t get it done try again the next week – it is more about making progress towards your ultimate goals – how fast you get there is up to you these objectives are just to guide you.

How to Keep a Goals Journal #3: Long Term Goals/Misson Statement

Last time, I asked you to scribble down what your long term goals are.

No thinking required, just inspiration.

Today we are going to review this. Firstly most people will have two sets of long term goals: personal goals and career aspirations. For some people these go hand in hand, other people keep them completely separate.

Think about what is important to you: achievements, values, and dreams. I can’t tell you what these are, but to help you get started – think about the following in 2 contexts – within the next couple of years and in 20 years.

  • Career
  • Education / training
  • Income
  • Significant Other and Children
  • Family (parents, siblings)
  • Friends
  • Hobbies, recreation and “Life” part of work/life balance
  • House
  • Car
  • Travel
  • Material possessions
  • Health

So get your thinking cap on.

How to: Keep a Goal Journal #2 – Getting Started

So, you have your notebook to hand.

Ask yourself: What do I want to get out of this journal? and make a few decisions before you get started.

  • Personal or professional life or both?

My goals journal is not just about career development. It is about maintaining a work/life balance in my rather busy life, and creating a more regular personal routine aka me time and fun time.

  • Style of journal – and goal targets/review

Consider – how often are you going to review your goals? and how are your targets going to be presented? The intention for this style of journal was to be a weekly one as discussed in my earlier post. (and you will see examples of this later). But it is entirely up to you as an individual whether the weekly goal with daily checklist is suitable for your needs. You may prefer a more rigid, dated structure to a free-flowing one.

  • Motivation for long-term goals?

My intentions for my notebook are to have long-term goals, which the weekly ones which build up to this. Are you someone motivated by eyeing up the long-term goal or are you put off by the feeling that you won’t get there instantaneously and give up because you are “getting nowhere”?

The first type of person whose long-term goals motivates them to do the “little things” will be best using these long-term goals in their notebook. The second type of person who is more likely to throw in the towel at the thought of such goals is better to leave these out (after the first goal decisions), and focus on the weekly goals and getting satisfaction out of those achievements.

Decisions made about the notebook and the content style. Now for the hard bit, the goals themselves.

Ask yourself: What are my goals?

Open the notebook and scribble down your mission statement/long-term goals. As it stands now! These are going on the first page. You can choose to give as much thought or as little thought into this as you want (we will review this next time). This is just getting thoughts on paper, as sometimes the unplanned, first-into-my-head ideas are the best.

How to: Keep a Goal Journal: the notebook

Time for another “uses for notebooks” posting. I talked before about How to keep a Career Log. A Career log has been of more use when job-hunting, and when you move jobs frequently. It captures the highlights!!

But what if you want to track you goals / career progression in a current job or company?

This is where a goal journal is much more handy.

Why Keep a Goals Journal? (and not a Career log)

  • If you don’t want to be doing the same thing day in and day out but actually want to make a difference to your job this is the journal you need.
  • If you want a bit more structure to your “long-term goals” and actually want to put them to paper.
  • If you don’t quite need a progress journal (written daily/job hunting) but need more than a career log (reviewed monthly/yearly/job changes).

What Sort of Notebook Should You Use?

I use one of my Cath Kidston notebooks. In my mind there are only 2 requirements.

  • It should be small. The CK notebooks are A6. Small enough (and slim enough) to slide into your bag, so the notebook is handy for when you get inspiration.
  • It should be pretty/attractive/good quality paper. The key here is to make you want to use it. All too often when it comes to personal goals we procrastinate and put things off. I try to get round this my tempting myself to actually want to use the notebook. (Even have a special pen if you favour pens over notebooks).

How to get started?

Interested? Well first, chose your notebook. Go on, run along.

…and then join me next time to review the content – and learn how to actually use the notebook to your advantage.

How To: Keep a Career Log

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Everyone has a different style of keeping a career log, or something for a similar purpose. Other people have no such system. As a recent graduate, I feel that a Career Log is an essential tool to assist with job hunting and getting some direction. That said, a career log is focused on your current and previous jobs  rather than your career aspirations but they do help you channel your focus later.

Many friends who keep a career log of sorts tend to do it in one notebook. I use one notebook per job (or if you are further along in your career path you could probably do one per employer).

So why keep a Career log?

A Career log keeps a record of your job and job related activities that after a period of time you may forget, but it can be useful whatever your situation. It can:

  • help you when you are looking for a job when you are deciding what type of role you would like.
  • can help with job applications and interviews by highlighting your skills, what you like and what your job is.
  • can help with internal reviews / appraisals in your current job or if you are applying for a promotion / pay rise.
  • helps you assess your own career progression and reassess long term goals – are you doing what you want to be doing?

Tempted? Well here is what I do:

1. The Introduction

The beginning of the notebook is all about the basics. It is a good idea to write down your actual job title and job description as written on your contract and what you earn. (It is also important to update this as it changes). Also note down the address and a contact number / reference as this is frequently asked for on CVs/Application forms.

2. My Daily Job

I then write a piece on what my day job actually entails. The number of times I’ve been asked that in an interview is shocking. So it is also a good idea to note down  your average day to day activities.If you have a repetitive schedule it can be good to do this as a timeline.

3. The Diary

I do this monthly because I’ve a very repetitive job at the moment, but if you do a lot of things all the time it would be advisable to keep a more regular record. Here I note what I have done during the past month. This is mainly an achievement section in addition to “my daily job”. For example getting more responsibility, or one -of tasks that you were given that impressed your boss. It can really be as simple as someone else was off sick and you handled the cover. It is also interesting to look back and see how your role has developed.

4. Loves and Gripes

I also note this along with the diary section on a sort of timeline. It is good to remind yourself what you love about your job, this helps you out when you are feeling blue, or from another angle helps build up your passion for a role that will shine through in your appraisal or application for promotion. It is equally important to note your gripes. Be it with improvements that your employer needs to make, or things that make you think, I need a career change. And in a more negative manner, building up a record in preparation of a complaint. But probably more importantly of all, how can you improve the job you are in?

5. Skills

Responsibilities are covered by your diary, but it is also important to realise what skills come out of your job. So I have a separate section for skills. This is important if you are applying for a new job or a promotion. There are several ways to do this, but as a graduate on the look out for a job I have quite a specific way of doing this. I list the skills I think my day to day job shows, and make a few bullet points about evidence (they always ask for examples in interview, make sure you’ve got one). The other thing I find key is every time I apply for a new job, whether I actually get an interview or not, I look at what they are looking for – the skills and add it to my list. either in a bit to improve that skills or as one that I do have evidence of, but didn’t include. There are many you can forget or might have overlooked. For example, a recent job asked for case management system experience – I do a lot of that in my current job, but never really thought about it as a skill and it made me think – other employer’s might like that. So this is a great thing to build up. It is also important to update, when better  or different examples of the skills come along so this section if you prefer can be tied into the diary section.

6. Targets

Although this book isn’t about your career aspirations frequently employers get you to agree targets with them for the year be they personal or company targets, or tell you about aspects of your job they need to see an improvement in. This section is for that. Of course if you don’t have specific ones handed down from on high, you can have your own personal goals included in here and track your progress, some people prefer that if they don’t have a dedicated progress journal.

Now you know what to put into it, so how do we use it?

A career log can be a useful tool, use it as you go along in your job, update monthly (or more frequently if it suits) and then when, if you are a job-seeker, are making applications, when preparing for interview etc. Also back date and keep one for previous jobs as well. I personally use my progress journal to compare and contrast the different jobs, and interlink, but some people may find it easier you combine, particularly the range of odd jobs we tend to have these days as students. It only has to be in note form, but these notes can go a long way in helping you develop something great for other things.

So simple:

Make notes on the above topics, review monthly or when doing job applications and use in conjunction with your progress journal if you have one.