How To Review Personal Performance

Patrick Burtchaell
Apr 3, 2016 · 2 min read

In professional work, people use performance reviews, one-on-ones, stand-up meetings and other methods to measure their performance and improve their overall productivity. As an undergraduate 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. 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. 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?
  3. What experiments did I try last month? Did I try any daily experiments this month like changing my bedtime or taking notes with pen and paper instead of on my computer?
  4. What relationships were important last month? Which individuals or communities were impactful?
  5. What major assignments do you have this month? Which assignments from school, work, extracurriculars and other commitments do I have coming up this month?
  6. 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?
  7. What are your actions for this month? Considering everything you have reviewed, are there several actions you can take this month?
  8. Is there anything else?

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 I have in my room. I know it is 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: school, work, extracurriculars, commitments, relationships, mental well-being and physical fitness.

Lawn Chair

Product design & software development studio

Patrick Burtchaell

Written by

I’m a designer and developer with experience of building and growing products at scale. I work as a product designer at Facebook.

Lawn Chair

Product design & software development studio

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