You settle down to do some work on a project.
A little bit of work here, a little bit of work there…but for some reason it doesn’t seem like you’re getting much anywhere.
It’s not that you aren’t doing the work, it’s just that you’re having a difficult time visualizing what you’re doing.
In this post, I offer a few ways to help you better visualize the progress of your work.
Do keep in mind, these ideas won’t work unless you contribute to them on a regular basis. The only real way to see progress is to work at something consistently.
So, how can you mark your progress so you can see where you’ve been…and where you’re going?
The trick is to use a visual and physical representation of your productivity.
Instead of guessing where you are with your work, you clearly, and easily see your progress.
Try any one of the following suggestions to keep track of your work.
The calendar cross-off.
All you need for this visualization exercise is a desk or wall calendar. While you could use a digital calendar, a paper calendar is preferred because you can easily interact with the calendar. You can write in little notes and cross off days by hand, for example. If you’re counting down to a certain date, say a deadline or something, you can mark this down and easily see where you are and how many days you have left until the deadline.
The two-jar transfer.
You’ll need two clear jars or containers of the same shape and height. Fill one of the jars with marbles or other small items such as pennies, dried beans or buttons. Each one of these little items can represent any measurement you so choose: a day, a task, a pound, an idea, whatever. Whenever you’ve successfully reached a certain measurement, transfer one of the small items to the other jar. This makes it easy to actually see your progress.
The sticky note switch.
Get a stack of sticky notes and find a flat surface on which to stick the notes, say a whiteboard, blackboard or a wall. Write down a single task on each note, or any other measurement of your choice (days, pounds, ideas, etc.). Now, divide your designated surface into two sections: draw a line down the center of the whiteboard/blackboard or use string to mark off the wall and place all the sticky notes on one side of the line you’ve drawn. For each task or item completed, transfer over the sticky note to the other side.
The Gantt Chart tracker.
This exercise works well if you’ve already sat down and broken out a project and assignments into different sections or phases. Convert these sections and phases into a visual chart going from left to right (otherwise known as a Gantt chart, or a chart that tracks the progress of different projects or assignments). Print out the chart and mount it to a wall or board. The next thing to do is to use a little marker such as a sticky note, flag or other item to mark your progress as you complete work on the project.
The journal entry.
Use a paper or online journal for this exercise. At the end of every day (or whenever you so choose), jot down a few notes of the things you’ve accomplished that day. Don’t forget to date your entries! Within just a short amount of time you’ll be able to see where you’ve been…and also where you’re going in future.
How about you? Do you need help tracking your progress on a work or personal project? Which of these exercises will you try out? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!