I’ve always been one of those people who has all the best intentions at the start of a school, university or work year, to get organised, streamlined, and productive. I usually feel optimistic and determined… It’s a clean slate, a fresh new page of a brand new notebook.

But as each week and month passes, I tend to lose focus and forget the goals I set out to achieve at the beginning of the year.

In July this year I had a complete plan laid out about how I would smash my end of year performance review. I was determined to be uber-organised, perform so well and gather so much evidence that quantified my achievements. Come year end I would have the leverage to either push for a significant pay rise, or for the modified hours I want to experiment with (a four day work week).

And here we are, at the end of the year, and my plans lay in pieces (slight exaggeration) scattered along the weeks and months since July. I performed well throughout the year, I think better than most in my department, but I still lost focus, and to be honest I don’t think a push for the pay rise or modified work hours is entirely justifiable.

So I’ve begun to lay the foundations for a better year next year, by using a few newly discovered tools.

I’ve created an IFTTT recipe that creates a new note in Evernote each weekday morning. Today’s auto-generated title is ‘Work Notes: Monday November 26, 2012’, and the note contains a template for all the things I need to quantify come the end of year performance review:

  • A daily work log - this comes in handy for time sheets too.
  • Individual performance objectives,
  • Development objectives
  • Competency review
  • Achievements and Feedback
  • A checklist of shutdown ritual items

I have the note open all day long, which keeps it in focus and will (I hope) develop a habit of adding to it regularly throughout the day. When performance review time comes around again next year, if I’ve consistently kept on top of recording my daily activities and achievements, then I should have a mountain of evidence to justify my value to the company, and a push for more perks.