Wrapping Up A Work Year – Take Stock and Plan

It’s the middle of December now, and your head may be spinning with the visions of vacation to come, holidays, all the things you have left to do, and other such fun December activities. But I’d like to ask that you take some time in the middle of December to take stock of your work year, and start your plan for the year to come.

Maybe your office, like mine, is starting to wind down for the end of the year. Folks are using up their unused vacation days, projects are ending, and preparations are underway for 2018. Of course, this is a very corporate office scenario-there are many fields and positions where this doesn’t happen-but it certainly is the case in all the post-college jobs I’ve held.

The temptation may be there to slack off too- do a little extra holiday shopping, come in late and sneak off early, take a long lunch to get some errands done-but instead you can get a jump start on the new year by preparing your 2017 work annual report and 2018 goals.

Corporations take the time to take stock of their performance each month/quarter/year – both from a financial perspective as well as for their overall performance. You need to do the same for the corporation of You, Inc. where you are the CEO, CFO, and just maybe also the CMO (get it! Ha ha.) Today I’ll review the concept with you and talk a bit about my own report.

Annual Report

I talked a bit about this concept last year, but I highly recommend you create a personal annual report for yourself. Those of you who work in the corporate world are likely familiar with the idea of an annual performance review, where you have an uncomfortable conversation with your boss about how you did and what you can do better/differently in the year to come.

Wait, you might be thinking-since I already do this for my boss, why am I doing it again?

Ah, you see, that one for your boss is for the corporation. It’s for your bosses eyes and will live on forever in your permanent corporate record. It will highlight your accomplishments and downplay your missteps. It likely needs to be polished, concise, and put you in the best possible light. Your goals for the next year will be similar, and reflect what you’re doing to move the corporation, your team, and yourself forward at work.

And that’s exactly why you need a REAL annual report. One that’s not for corporate eyes. Where you can be honest about your mistakes, including ones that only you know you’ve made. Where you can speak frankly about your work situation, boss, co-workers, ambitions, and what you really want out of your job. Where it’s all about YOU, not your boss or corporation.

You want to close out the year strong, with a frank assessment of where you did well and the times you achieved your goals-and also where you fell short or wish you had done things differently/better. And you want to start off next year strong, with a clear picture of what success will look like when you reach year end.

Your annual report will be better if you kicked off the year with defined goals and tracked your progress toward them, like I have (check out my last report here for an example). But even if you didn’t do that, don’t despair-you can still recap the year. And a slower time of year is the perfect time to do so.

You don’t need any kind of fancy presentation, software, app, or document either. You can use the notes app on your phone, or a Word document/Google doc. If you’re going to be including things you don’t want to share with your employer (like that you’re planning to look for a new job, or improvements you’re making in the side hustle space) don’t put it on your work computer. I’d recommend starting it on your smartphone and finishing it off on your home computer if that’s the case.

And remember, since this is only for you, you need to be honest with yourself – and you can say what you want. Don’t be afraid to ramble, to say what you’re really thinking, or to include wild dreams and goals that you’ve never shared at work. After all, this is YOUR annual report-make it a good one!

Today I’m talking just about the work section of your report, but you’ll also want to include other sections on family, finances, and whatever else is important to you.

CMO’s Annual Report – Work

Check out what mine will look like (abbreviated version, of course).

My four primary work-related goals at the start of this year were:

  • Continue leadership development program
  • Successfully deliver current project on time/on budget
  • Continue agile transformation initiative
  • Blog four times a week and reach 10,000 people (note – by “people” I mean visitors, not views)

Progress towards goals

  • Continue leadership development program – Completed this in September
  • Successfully deliver current project on time/on budget – Successfully delivered under budget, despite a number of significant challenges over the year
  • Continue agile transformation initiative – Continued working on this all year, and have made a significant difference in my area
  • Blog four times a week and reach 10,000 people – For most of the year I did blog four times per week. I cut back to three times per week most weeks at one point, and I fell short in August/September. I reached way more than 10,000 people (which seemed like an impossible goal when I started the year)

Areas for improvement

  • Need to set more 2018 work goals, particularly now that I’ve finished the leadership program
  • Need to set more concrete blogging goals, that are more aggressive. Once I blew past my initial goal I got kind of lost for a while, not sure where I should go next.

Long term goals – my post-it note from my BHAG goal post says it all.

2018 goals

  • Continue to do an awesome job at work, and look for more opportunities to do things outside my day-to-day job (side projects, initiatives, etc.)
  • Continue to work on the agile transformation in my area
  • Reach 500,000 people through this site (go big or go home)
  • Start to monetize the site

It’s That Simple

It doesn’t have to be a huge, boring exercise. Make it fun! And be sure to put both your long-term BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals) as well as your 2018 goals somewhere you can see them frequently, to remind yourself of what they are. The more often you look at them, the better you can tell whether you’re on or off track. And you can assess what you need to be doing better or differently to reach them.

What’s on your work annual report  – your personal one? Did you achieve the goals you set out to when the year kicked off? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Wrapping Up A Work Year – Take Stock and Plan”

  1. I just finished up my annual review at work and am starting to chart the goals (both personal and career) for 2018. Still nailing them down but I’m excited to dive into the new year soon!

  2. Ours is the exact opposite – we’ve had a massive ramp-up of work because of the compulsory shutdown over Christmas/New Year! I’m finding it difficult to even prepare for Christmas because my whole brain is devoted to work. I will need to wait for the downtime and a little breathing space before I can properly dedicate brainpower to my goals.

  3. Hey that’s a great idea. Haven’t really sat down and wrote one up before. If I had something in mind I wanted to do like write blog posts 2-3 times a week or expand my social media platform for my blog I would go ahead and dive into it almost immediately. But writing it down keeps you reminded, focused and gives you a goal to accomplish

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