As soloists, we often work in environments of delayed and/or limited feedback. In other words, much of what we do doesn’t result in a signal that is immediate or clear.
We market our services today, in the hopes that leads will arrive tomorrow.
We deliver our services today, but our clients may not enjoy the benefits for months.
And even if we hit it out of the park, the client may not give us any feedback.
This aspect of soloism is difficult to anticipate and navigate. Sometimes, we fill the void with negative self-talk: Is any of this working? Am I good at what I do? Is this the line of work for me?
These are the realities of this path we’ve chosen. And when we can’t change the realities, we can change how we react to them.
When feedback loops don’t exist, we can create them for ourselves.
A simple way to do this is by keeping a “Work Wins” journal. At the close of each workday, I open a Word document which has the sole purpose of tracking my wins.
Sometimes these are major things, like nailing an important presentation or gaining approval on a new contract.
Sometimes they’re seemingly minor things, like “didn’t procrastinate that difficult conversation,” or “didn’t task-switch,” or “logged a solid 90 minutes on that important but not urgent thing”
Work Wins journaling is one of two things I do to close out my day, along with planning my tomorrow. These two tasks take less than 10 minutes. The ROI on that bit of time is sky-high.
Most importantly, Work Wins journaling delivers powerful mental benefits. It helps me to give myself credit for doing the work that needs to be done – the inputs – without attaching myself so tightly to the results.
And closing my day on a positive note tends to carry over to my tomorrow.
Starting today, add a new daily recurring task to your to-do list. Call it “Work Wins” or whatever name you like.
At the close of every workday, try to identify at least three wins. These can be:
- Accomplishments (big or small)
- Client feedback
- Supportive words from others
- Things you initiated
- People you helped
Finally, set another recurring task: Every 30 days, review your Work Wins entries from the prior month. This will help you to spot patterns and reinforce good behaviors. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the many steps forward, big and small, that you can take in 30 days.
Try it yourself. See if it doesn’t help your perseverance and your outlook. Please let me know how it goes.
Your time is valuable, and I hope I’ve rewarded it. If so, your shares are greatly appreciated, as I try to spread the gospel to as many freelancers as possible.
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