The end of the year always seems to sneak up on me. So many months are spent heads down, immersed in client work and leaping from one deadline to the next. It can be hard to reflect in the moment about what’s going well and what could improve. Inevitably, January rolls around and everyone is sharing their resolutions for the new year. Yet I find myself feeling unprepared.
My husband likes to reflect on the past year by completing “101 questions” about all aspects of his life. For me, there are never enough hours in the day to do that. However, this past year has been so full of milestones and challenges for me – both personally and professionally – that I thought I should at least set aside some time for introspection.
Thanks to Google, I found five questions covering a broad swath of my professional life that might be valuable for you, too.
- What career goals did I accomplish? If you set goals last year, knowing whether you accomplished them should be easy. If you didn’t set goals, ask yourself what you have accomplished over the last year. Making a list of what you’ve done (or haven’t done) can be motivation to reach for more this year.
- Did my skills get sharper? Everyone wants to be better at their job. How did you make that happen last year? Did you go to lunch-and-learns? Get trained on a new software? Shadow someone who does what you aspire to do, or perhaps ask them to mentor you? If you’re not sure, ask your friends and colleagues what they think.
- What is one thing that happened at work last year that I would change if I could? If your year was perfect, then please share your secret! For most people, there’s likely something that didn’t go the way you had planned. What were the lessons learned? What would you do differently?
- Was I happy doing my job? Hopefully the answer is yes. If so, what do you love about it? If not, what could be better?
- What do I want to accomplish career-wise in the coming year, and how will I set myself up for success? After reflecting on these questions, you may discover some things that could help you grow and be better (and happier) in your professional life. What are they, and what are you going to do about it? Make a plan with bite-sized, achievable milestones. If you’re comfortable, talk to your friends and colleagues about it and put the plan into action.
There is no time like the present to make a change for the better.
Erin Ward, principal, is a project architect and technical designer in ZGF Seattle’s office with more than 15 years of experience working on a diverse range of project types, from academic laboratory buildings and healthcare facilities, to new corporate headquarter office spaces and downtown high-rise buildings. With a breadth and depth in such a diverse range of project types, she has developed the ability to quickly synthesize key components of a client’s vision with programmatic and functional needs to create highly-functional spaces that also provide a sense of community and support for the institutions they represent.