At the end of each workday, ask yourself whether it was a good day. You owe it to yourself and your career to reflect for a couple of minutes. Don’t wait for a yearly review; make it a daily habit. The more often you consider your day, the more you’ll understand your strengths and interests. The more you know yourself, the better you’ll be at making your job work for you.
It starts with you
You probably didn’t get your manager’s feedback or approval for the work you did today. Even if you did, you are responsible for evaluating yourself. You’re often in the best position to judge the quality of your workday against your expectations. You’re the only person who can have that candid inner dialog with yourself.
Achieving a good day will vary by the work you’re doing, and what you find satisfying. Every individual has a different perspective and viewpoints change as your career progresses.
How do you decide if it was a good day or not? Take the time to have a private conversation with yourself about the day. Be candid. Hold yourself accountable. Ask yourself these simple yes or no questions. Do so often and your insight will become second nature.
- Was the day extraordinary or routine?
- Each day can’t be monumental, but each day should be interesting and meaningful. Recognize the extraordinary day and what made it different. You need change if you have days that are tedious or boring.
- Did you earn the money you were paid?
- Give yourself credit if you know you were effective, and you’re confident you earned your salary.
- Did you make a positive difference?
- It’s great to clear your task list. Busyness can be satisfying. But decide whether the work you did was a meaningful contribution and you were productive. Be appreciative if you moved a project forward, solved a problem, or developed a solution.
- Did you learn something new?
- Learning advances your career and increases the depth of your understanding. Learning can be incremental or significant. Be aware of the most important knowledge you acquired today and be candid about what you don’t know.
- Were you challenged?
- Challenges can be a healthy way to grow. If you always succeed, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Failing quickly and learning from your mistakes is a great way to grow.
- Did you strengthen your team?
- A lot of job satisfaction comes from contributing to the effectiveness of your team. Enhancing productivity, meeting someone new, or getting to know someone is a great way to broaden your perspective.
- Were you recognized?
- Today may have been one of those days where your manager, a colleague, or a customer understood your contribution. Perhaps they thanked you for what you did. Recognition can make for a good day.
- Has your story changed?
- Your career is always under construction. You should ask yourself whether your story grew today and met your expectations. Is your job progressing in a way that makes sense to you?
- Were you happy?
- There are times when life outside of work overshadows the day and you can’t be happy. That’s okay. That’s human. But don’t let too many unhappy workdays go by. It’s up to you to make changes in how you approach your job, and where you work.
- Are you excited about tomorrow?
- Sometimes, the only tomorrows you’re excited about are a weekend or time off. That should be a pause for concern. There’s no better time than today to set up a positive tomorrow.
The day may seem ordinary, but every day is remarkable. The average heart, beats over 100,000 times per day. The average lungs take in over 23,000 breaths. You have over 10,000 thoughts. Make everyday count.