Why you should track your accomplishments

Consider tracking your accomplishments both in and out of work. The goal is for it to not be a burden and allow you to commemorate all you have done. Find ways to track that work for you and fit into your everyday life. There is no need for a complicated system, you can simply keep a few notes or pictures in a designated spot, find what works for you.

Your accomplishments weave the story of your life. They show all the experiences you have had and all the skills you have built. They mark milestones, new beginnings, and endings. Some accomplishments may be more practical while others are for pure enjoyment, both are equally important. We must make sure we focus both on skills for everyday life but also experiences that help us grow or bring us joy.

How you define accomplishment and what fits into that category is completely up to you. You get to decide what counts as an accomplishment in your own life. Whether it is finally not burning a quiche, learning to juggle, taking your first solo trip, reading every book by an author, or presenting data that is years in the making. This is your journey and you choose what is most important to you.

Identifies what skills you are using

Writing down your accomplishments can help you think critically about the skills you are using and building. As you work towards goals you can more easily see if what you are doing aligns with the skills you want to learn or improve.

For your work life, having a continuously updated list of skills can make it easier when you are adding to your resume. These are the items you can add to your personal statement or skills section.

For your hobbies, tracking your skills allows you to easily see what you have learned so you feel more confident moving onto more advanced techniques or trying new ways of doing things.

Identifies what skills you want to learn or improve

Keeping track of your accomplishments can help you get a sense of what you enjoy doing. It can also show you where gaps may be. This is your chance to review what you have done and plan what you want to do next.

Things to think about:

What skills do you feel are most important to you?

What skills do you feel will help you most in your career?

What skills do you want to work on in your personal life?

What skills are you not interested in building?

Just as important as knowing what skills you want to build is knowing what skills don’t hold your interest. Maybe you have given multiple presentations or helped write grants, but these are not things you want to be the main focus of your job. This knowledge will allow you to put your time and effort towards skills you are most interested in building.

Few if any have a job where they enjoy everything about what they do, but knowing what skills you don’t want to work on can help you narrow down the type of work you choose to pursue.

Remember that not every skill you are good at is something you need to nurture and develop. Find what excites you, interests you, and will get you where you want to go and focus on those skills.

Helps you plan what you want to accomplish next

Being able to see what skills you have developed, what projects you have worked on, and what you have achieved allows you to more easily plan what you want to do next. It provides a foundation off of which you can build. When reviewing your individual accomplishments make note of ways you think you can improve and next steps you can take

Some things to ask yourself

Is there anything else I wish I could have gotten out of this accomplishment?

What skills do I want to build up next?

Is there a clear next step to take?

What hurdles did I encounter that I can work on?

Allows you to be ready for job opportunities

Keeping a list of work accomplishments allows you to easily keep your resume updated. Consider setting a reminder for every 3-6 months to review your resume and add to it from your list of accomplishments.

Even if you are not actively looking for a job, you never know when an opportunity may present itself. Having your resume ready to submit before even looking at jobs can make the process less stressful; You will already have much of the work done. Having the foundation of your resume ready to go allows you to focus on the details and tailor it to the job for which you are applying.

Those that are not thinking about making a career change can still benefit from seeing what jobs are hiring. It can help you to think about your work goals and plans for the future. 

Information you can gather from a job search include:

What skills are in high demand right now?

What other kinds of jobs within my industry are there?

What is the going salary for jobs similar to my current job?

What jobs look interesting to me?

Prepares you for a performance evaluation

Whether your job has a formal evaluation process or not, it is helpful to routinely look at where you are and how things are going. It can make it easier for both you to evaluate yourself or have someone evaluate your work by having a list of accomplishments and skills ready.

Working on your list of accomplishments and skills throughout the year makes it less stressful when it comes time to evaluate your progress. You will not have to hunt down all the projects you worked on or reports you wrote, you will already have found a way to track those. By continuously tracking things are less likely to be forgotten.

Your list can help show how far you have come which is a foundation on which to build. It can make it easier to figure out what new tasks and challenges you should take on next.

Helps you keep up with your hobbies

Keeping a list or even pictures of your accomplishments help you see all that you have done and inspire you to keep going. Having hobbies and activities you take part in outside of work is incredibly important. Making time for things that you enjoy helps you live a more balanced life.

Keeping track of your hobbies can help remind you of what you find fulfilling and the benefits it brings to your life.

It can also help you plan the next goal you want to work towards. Your goal for your hobby doesn’t need to be learning something new or pushing yourself to try something harder or more complex. Your goal can simply be to keep doing your hobby, to keep making time for the things that bring you joy and contentment.

Reminds you of all you have done

Anyone can have imposter syndrome, both in our jobs and personal life. When a new task is presented to you at work you may feel unfit for the job because you don’t know how to handle it right away. You may run everyday after work and still hesitate to call yourself a runner.

We are much harder on ourselves than we are on others.

Having a list of accomplishments can help keep you grounded by reminding you of all you have done.

There have been difficult situations and uncertainty in the past, but you have learned and have accomplishments to show for it.

Let your lists be a reminder not of what you can do for a company or how you compare to someone else, but of all that you are capable. In times of doubt or when you are faced with a new challenge, look over your list and remind yourself of all that you have done and all that you can do.

Let your past self be an inspiration for your future self.

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