Next year’s performance review

In my speeches on time management, I suggest an exercise to get people thinking about their medium-term goals. Many people get an end-of-year performance review. If your organization does them in November or December, they’re coming up. As you’re thinking of 2012, though, take a bit of time to think about 2013. What do you want to say in next year’s performance review? If you work a solid 40 hours per week, for 50 weeks, you’ll have 2000 billable hours next year. What would you like to accomplish with those hours?

I think this is a fun question to ponder. True, life is ultimately unknowable. Sometimes life throws great opportunities at you that turn the whole year’s goals on end. The opposite could happen too. But just because things could change is no reason not to think through this question. A 2013 performance review is clearly not binding, and failing to think about how you want to spend your year increases the chances that those 2000 hours will go by and you’ll have nothing to show for them.

I’ve got a short lull between projects, so I’ve been thinking about the 2013 review I’d give myself. I’d like to:

  • successfully support the publication of my two upcoming ebooks (What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend, and What the Most Successful People Do at Work), and the publication of the paperback compilation of all three in the series.
  • write a novel draft that I’m happy with. I’m figuring out an accountability system for this, because this is my big goal for the year.
  • nail a good idea for a longer narrative non-fiction work (likely something business/economics)
  • double the readership of this blog

The personal life question is a bit more tricky. To rope in the personal as well as professional, I tell people to imagine they’re writing that wretched genre of literature known as the family Christmas letter. This letter, which accompanies the Christmas cards, tends to list the highlights of what you’ve done that year in your personal life. For 2013, I think that would be:

  • A trip to Disney World with extended family (already planned for March) and a summer trip to a national park somewhere in the western part of the US (suggestions welcome! We will have a 6-year-old, almost 4- and almost 2-year-old at the time)
  • Run 1000 miles. That’s 20 miles a week, which should be doable. I’m three weeks into a regular Friday morning 6-mile gig with a new running partner that’s going great. This morning we ran on a trail by the river with the gray sky making the red maples and yellow oaks look positively brilliant.
  • I have some philanthropic/volunteer goals I’m mulling about, but haven’t quite decided what I want to aim for yet. I’m the president of the board of directors for the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, and we’ve had some interesting growth in 2012 (like starting a companion women’s ensemble for 20-30-somethings who want to sing SSAA). We’re developing our strategic plan, which will likely inform the 2013 goals.

What would you like to say has happened by the end of 2013?  



3 Responses to Next year’s performance review


  1. Meredith says:

    First I want to say I love your blog. I have a background in PR and I was just curious about your ideas for how to increase readership of your blog. Also, just curious if you sing.

    • Laura says:

      @Meredith- thanks so much! I do sing. Not stunningly, but passably. And I can read music, sight-sing, etc., which is often just as important for choral things. As for how to increase blog traffic, it tends to rise around every book launch, which I think is partly because I make a concerted effort to do guest posts at other blogs, ask other bloggers to write about me, and work to get stories in publications that will link to me. I do better about consistently sharing posts on social media, too. So enough more of that should boost traffic over time. It does take time, though.

  2. Kathy says:

    I have a suggestion for a national park: Yellowstone. We visited a couple years ago and it was fabulous. If you want to stay in the park, you need to get your reservations early though. I recommend staying in the park because it takes a while to drive in if you stay outside, and it’s so much nicer to not to have to do that when you have little ones. There are lots of easy hiking trails, and junior ranger programs. (Now I want to go back!)