Typical triggers for work reevaluation are changes in your job, manager, subordinates, role, or responsibility or the beginning of a big new project. If none of those things happen, you could find yourself getting stale, out of date, out of touch, or even worse, out of sync with your organization and your profession.
Every so often we need to take a step back and look at our jobs with a new perspective, the same way we did when we first entered the job. Making a plan to do this every year can help us stay fresh and motivated.
Review files. Remember sorting through those file cabinets and pitching all the old junk from the previous person in your job? Guess what? Now you are the one with overflowing files. We need to go through both paper and electronic files and dispose of anything that is out-of-date or irrelevant. Evaluate any paper documents you have to determine if you should scan them and save electronically. If you travel, this makes good sense to always have files with you when you need them.
Are your electronic files backed up? If not, do that now and set up a system to remind yourself so you don’t forget in the future. Many companies are moving file backup to a cloud environment. If you aren’t sure that’s the case, now’s the time to check it out and make sure you are covered.
Update hardware and software. If you work for a big company, most likely your IT department makes sure you have up-to-date electronic equipment and necessary software. If not, this is a good time to determine if you have anything that needs upgrading. Also reevaluate your computer virus and malware protection programs and verify the versions and subscriptions are up-to-date.
Renew your office. Remember how exciting it is (or not) to set up a new office? Over time, our needs change. If you’ve been in the same office for a while, you most likely have accumulated more stuff. You may now have more accessories such as a webcam, additional monitor, headset, and possibly clutter.
If you haven’t done a thorough office cleaning in a while, you need to. In manufacturing, we all know the benefits to having a well-organized work space. Take a hard look at your space and think about anything that causes frustration. Ask yourself if you have outgrown your current space and if anything needs to go. As I mentioned earlier, paper files can take up space, so consider scanning, storing electronically, and shredding the paper documents. Ask yourself if you are holding too many surplus office supplies that you no longer need and donate them back to the general supply cabinet.
Conduct program maintenance. We all know that our training programs, documents, and manuals need periodic updates. Evaluate your current maintenance schedule and see if everything has been updated as needed. Delete or destroy any out-of-date materials and consolidate anything you find that is redundant into reusable content. This includes reviewing what is in your LMS to see if any courses need to be archived.
Review document management. Evaluate your current process for managing updates of public documents. If you use SharePoint, you can use metadata and workflow tasks to notify you when a library of content needs to be reviewed.
If you have a large number of documents to manage, consider whether there is another tool that might better meet your needs. There are several tools on the market that not only will assist you in creating documents, such as standard operating procedures, but will also provide reusable content that can populate into multiple documents. These systems also have varying capabilities for maintaining document notifications, revisions, and approvals.
Review goals. We all create goals right after our annual reviews, but what are you doing to keep track of your progress? Are you tracking accomplishments so they will be easy to recall when it’s time for your next review? For large projects, you probably use some type of project planning tool or chart for tracking, but what about small projects and one-time contributions? One tool that I use to help me keep track of these items is OneNote, as it allows me to quickly find this information later.
What about personal career goals? I have been a planner geek for many years. Many of these products have tools to help you identify and map out your own values, goals, and the like. In addition to goals, what milestones have you established along the way to make sure you stay on track? Have you laid your work goals and personal goals out side-by-side so you have a fully integrated (and not competing) plan?
Update professional knowledge and skills. It doesn’t matter what job you are in, you must periodically conduct an inventory of your personal knowledge and skills as they relate to the current trends in your field. Ask yourself if you are keeping abreast of the latest developments in technology. Often we hit an obstacle once and then never go back. As technology develops, it becomes cheaper and more widely used.
Do you have any self-development activities lined out for yourself over the next year? Look back over the past year and evaluate what areas challenged you. Are you attending regular meetings with professional organizations? Are you attending classes, workshops, or seminars? Are you sharing knowledge with people within your organization?
All of this may seem like a boring chore, but it won’t be if you enter into it with the same enthusiasm you did when you first took your job. The best part about going through your own stuff is to see how far you’ve come. It helps you make sure you are on track to where you are going. When you are finished, you will not only have a new commitment to your plan, you will also:
• know what you have, so you can find it when you need it
• be rid of what you don’t need, so find what you need faster
• know where you are going, so you can plan your days accordingly.
Most importantly, take time to reassess your priorities. We all have the same 1,440 minutes every day, and our success depends on how we use each of them.
© 2018 ATD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.