I just went through my first annual review at this company. And while it seemed fair enough, I'd like to be better prepared for next years review. This time I ended up trying to go through a years worth of old emails to cull a list of accomplishments which was less than effective. In fact, at the last minute I remembered a noteworthy two-week project I had forgotten about.

How can I better prepare for my next review throughout the year? Does anyone keep a work journal and would it be useful for this purpose?


The simplest ways are best as your more likely to keep up with them. Here's what I do:

  1. email folder: make a new folder in your email, copy any relevant feedback/praise/successes into this. Makes it easy to find.
  2. You should be meeting regularly with your line manager to check how you are doing against targets (at least monthly). As part of that summarise your achievements for the period (from 1). Make a note of any actions from the 1-2-1 and what you do as a result here as well.

When you come to prepare for your appraisal, you have a list of successes, actions against any action points, and evidence, all pre-discussed with your manager, so no surprises from either side, and what you need to support your self assessment.

  • 1
    +1. For added simplicitly, write yourself an email with any accomplishments, and store that in your feedback mail folder. Then you have everything in one place. – Stephan Kolassa Feb 5 '15 at 6:57
  • Both this and Monica's answers are great. Monica's actually seems more "together" and something to aspire to. I'll choose this one, though, as something I can start (and have started!) doing right away. Additionally, I've scheduled a half hour meeting with myself at the very end of every Friday as a sort of check in and weekly review. – eflat Feb 8 '15 at 2:34

Here is what I have done for the last several years:

First, if you submit regular status reports, keep a folder of those. This is easy, but it's not sufficient -- you'll still have to do a lot of work later to "roll it up" into an annual review. So, in addition, keep a log.

At the beginning of the review year I create a document (mine's a text file; use whatever works for you) in which I create sections for the goals, behaviors, or other "review line-items" that are likely to show up in the year-end review. Then, throughout the year, add entries to this log in the correct sections with your notes. Date all entries. Link or cross-reference related materials you might need to find later (wiki pages, bug numbers, email thread titles, etc).

For example, suppose you have a goal to improve your interpersonal skills. You've just had a high-visibility meeting with all kinds of potential for things to go wrong and you were able to explain the issues with the proposed plan, other ways to address the underlying needs, and so on, all without it leading to a shouting match. Don't assume you'll remember those details ten months later; make a note about that including the date of the meeting and key attendees. If it resulted in a new story on your scrum board, link it.

At the end of the year you should have dozens of these kinds of notes (maybe hundreds). Don't just dump that all on your manager; the goal here is to (a) cull this list for the most-important things to mention and (b) refresh your memory so if your manager brings up a particular topic, you're ready to discuss it.


This is exactly what I am doing for my 1st annual review come October - I made a winbook detailing all the things i have taken part in and how it led to success for the business and team that I am in, which grows over time.

I am doing the same thing as @Monica, but it is slightly different in the role that I do.

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