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Accomplishment Journal: Record Your Achievements

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Accomplishment JournalDo you have an accomplishment journal?

I don’t know if you’ve seen my Wall of Fame & Fortune & Awesomeness but it’s a list of all the awesome publications and websites I’ve have the pleasure of being in, on, or near. It’s essentially a list of my accomplishments as a result of this blog and it’s something I feel very fortunate to have been able to do. I was in the local paper once when I was in 6th grade for reading to kindergartners in my school, the New York Times was a little bigger than that. :)

The point of showing that post both here and at the top of every page isn’t to brag or show the world how awesome I am. It’s there because it gives me the motivation to keep doing what I’m doing every day, day in and day out. Life can be a grind, whether its in an office, a restaurant, a factory floor, a job site, or a retail store. Unless you make a record of the highlights, you can often get lost in the grind and find yourself on the flip side without a clue of what happened.

There are a few other reasons why I think an accomplishment journal is crucial.

What Is An Accomplishment Journal

An accomplishment journal is simply a place you can write down and celebrate all of your accomplishments. You define what success is and you define what you consider an accomplishment. The door is wide open and anything you want to put down is fair game. What an office manager considers a success is different than what a stay at home mom or dad considers a success. A student has different goals, and thus different accomplishments to note, than an executive. However, for any one of those people, an accomplishment journal is something that can provide value for years to come.

Why Keep One?

If you ever kept a journal as a child (I didn’t but my wife did and I love reading her cute notes), you know how much fun reading your own thoughts can be. Who and what bothered you, who you liked and disliked, what your concerns were at the time, etc. Now, an accomplishment journal is similar in that you can relive your successes. It makes it much easier to remember the past and offers a glimpse into your own development. That’s the emotional sappy reason, there are also many logical reasons to keep a journal.

It helps you keep your resume up to date. I recommend revisiting and updating your resume every three months, even if you aren’t looking for a job. It’s important to update your resume when the accomplishments and responsibilities are still fresh in your mind. Can you accurately remember the work you did five years ago? If you were put under the gun, like after being laid off, would you be able to remember the work you did last year with sufficient clarity? If you are able to recall exactly what you did, maybe you don’t need to update it every three months. I only know that I can’t, which is why I update it every three months.

It motivates you. One of the biggest things I learned from my wife when she was looking for a job several years ago was the importance of progress when there appeared to be none. One of the tips I offered in my post about Three Morale-Boosting Tips for Job Seekers was to track your progress. Tracking your progress in a job hunt is like tracking your accomplishments. It may seem silly or minor to you but when you send out ten resumes or go out on an interview, those are accomplishments. When you look back after a week of searching, it’s much better to see “I sent out 85 resumes.” than to remember “I spent all week sending resumes.”

It lets you define how success is measured. Mark at Soul Shelter recently wrote about his struggles with the idea of success. Mark is a writer, a midlist writer (where the books aren’t a bestseller but sell enough to justify publication), and struggles each year around the holidays to describe his vocation. While his struggle was with the external barometers of success for his field, bestseller lists and book sales, he does talk about how “we ought to try to recognize and value others’ achievements, big and small, vocational and personal. And most importantly, if we want to be happy and self-confident and continue wholeheartedly doing the work we love—however underpaid or undervalued—we must learn to rely on the measures of success that mean the most to us personally, and strive not to lose sight of them.”

Having your own journal of accomplishments can help further that goal, if only for yourself. Rather than look towards income or other external measures, your accomplishments are whatever you want them to be and when you write them down, they can give you the motivation to work harder. You decide what you want to write down and only you will be reading it, so feel free to write down things that are important to you that may not be important to anyone else.

Do you keep a journal of your achievements and accomplishments? If so, what was your latest accomplishment? It’s ok to share! :)

(Photo: shuttercat7)

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15 Responses to “Accomplishment Journal: Record Your Achievements”

  1. Patrick says:

    This is a great idea Jim. This is the same idea as having a Software Developer Journal to keep records of things you achieved and a place to go to remember those things. If you solved a problem in a particular way, this type of journal is a place you can write you thoughts down so you won’t have to try to remember them the second time around.

  2. Love the idea of an achievement journal. It would be a great thing to do with the kids, who quickly forget that feeling of accomplishment.

  3. thomas says:

    I keep an achievement journal for work in the form of emails, etc. Very helpful when it comes to review time or trying to prove your value, especially now.

  4. I have a little private blog where I keep track of my achievements, I been doing this since I became self-employed and traveled alot.

  5. David Duran says:

    I just wrote one up actually Jim!

    The new year had me reflecting on some of the key ‘big moments’ of my life thus far and exactly as you say, it’s been motivation to keep aspiring for what’s next (not in a greedy way but in a ‘I want to do more with my life than play videogames’ sense).

  6. David Duran says:

    The link wouldn’t hurt actually now would it… :)
    http://davidjduran.com/2009/01/04/looking-back/

  7. TStrump says:

    It’s funny, I spend so much time writing down goals and then checking them off when they’re done, the achievement gets forgotten.
    It’s important to celebrate the victories!

  8. Chiko says:

    It might seem like a funny and not so popular thing for a young adult like myself to do, but I keep a journal. In this journal I record my successes and failures, only to learn from them later.

  9. I love this idea. It segues beautifully into the gratitude journal I already keep. I’m going to start today with the fact that one of my articles made it to the front page of Tip’d. Hopefully when I look back on it I’ll laugh that I was so happy about that accomplishment!

  10. Dear Jim,

    Thank you for this post. I absolutely agree that it is important (whether we are actively job searching or not) to keep track of our accomplishments, the way our strengths show up, and how they are recognized by others. It is a wonderful way to ensure the information (or morale boost!) is there when we need it.

  11. I am actively working with a number of people looking for jobs; my contribution to helping the economy get back on its feet.

    This includes reviewing resumes offering suggestions for change and in all I’ve seen there has not been one where the applicant articulated what benefit has come to their past employers as a result of having employed them.

    Listing quantifiable accomplishments is not only a good thing it is essential when searching for a job.

    Jim, I’ve seen a lot of “how to find a job” articles with all sorts of advice but nothing as good as what you’ve said here and I am going to do all I can to see that as many people as possible read your post.

    Thank you,

    Bill Matthies

  12. Inna says:

    I’m actually one of those people struggling to remember/come up with accomplishments, and even worse — quantify them.

    It’s definitely a great idea to update things every couple or so months, so that you have it when you need it. Great article!

  13. Sylvia says:

    Hello: Great site and great idea! I have worked for over 20 years within the employment area – over 15 as an employment counsellor. I always advised clients to keep a log of the highlights and special projects, simply beause we can never seem to remember it all when the time comes to tell someone else – and it works! Thanks for bringing into the information age with such eloquence! (Have you translated your work into other languages yet?)Keep up the great work!


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