How To Review Personal Performance

In professional work, people use performance reviews, one-on-ones, stand-up meetings and other methods to measure their profress and improve their overall productivity.

As a college student, I meet with my advisers to review progress on my degree and with professors to discuss my performance in their course. For work and school, I use methods to measure performance and set goals to improve.

I have realized, though, I'm not doing enough to review my performance in life as a whole. At first, this sounds unnecessary: reviewing performance in life-really? I would argue though: since I review performance for work and school, why not extend that practice to life as a whole? I spent some time designing a system for a monthly review. I will do a reviews at the beginning of each month and I'll use the review to record my performance during the past month and to determine actions (small, specific and measurable goals) for the next month.

The review involves the following questions:

  1. Sucess: What am I proud of? Did I meet my expectations for grades on projects, papers and exams? Did I finish any important projects for work? Did I give any talks or make contributions to open source? Did I give back to others? What did I do this month that made me feel fulfilled?

  2. Habits: What did I focus on last month and did it go well? Did I work to develop any new habits or kill bad habits? Did I succeed? What do I need to try to do better this month? What experiments did I try last month? Did I try any daily experiments this month?

  3. People: What relationships were important last month? Which individuals or communities were impactful?

  4. Looking Forward: What major assignments do you have this month? Which assignments from school, work, extracurriculars and other commitments do I have coming up this month? What activities or events do you have this month? What activities or events for school, work or just for fun do I have this month?

  5. Next Steps: What are your actions for this month? Considering everything you have reviewed, are there several actions you can take this month?

  6. Closing Thouights: Is there anything else on your mind?

After I write this review in the Notes on my computer, I'll write each of my actions on a sticky note and pin the note to a board. It's important for me to see my actions every day in order to stay on top of them. Presently, I am trying a system where the actions from the previous month are in one color and the actions from the present month are in another.

I hope this monthly review system will enable me to perform better in all aspects of life and work: projects, relationships, hobbies, mental health and physical fitness.