In my last blog posting I shared with you the benefits of doing a regular evaluation. In today’s posting I want to share with you when to do an evaluation.
An evaluation should be done on a regularly scheduled basis and also on an as-needed basis.
1. On a regularly scheduled basis
You need to decide how often you will do the regularly scheduled evaluation. Will you do it weekly, or maybe monthly? Will you perform a mini-evaluation every night and then a major evaluation every week, or perhaps you would prefer a mini-evaluation every week and a major evaluation every month? At the regularly scheduled evaluations you review your work over the previous period to see what you have accomplished, and take time to appreciate your accomplishments.
I do a mini-evaluation every night. Each night, as I lay in bed, before I drift off to sleep, I review my day. This review is very short. There are three aspects of my life that I address: physical, intellectual and spiritual. I review what I did that day to further my growth in each of these three aspects of my life. Generally I have meditated, so I meet the spiritual aspect, or, if it’s Sunday I have either gone to church or done some spiritual reading. If I have worked out in the gym, or gone for a bike ride, I meet the physical aspect. If I have worked on my book or my workshop, or gone to Toastmasters, I meet the intellectual aspect.
Usually I have done at least two aspects, which I consider to be a positive evaluation. I am always gentle with myself. Even if I only do one thing that day, I just promise myself that the next day, I will do better. Even God rested on the Seventh day. Then I decide what I am going to do the next day for each aspect.
The reason you want to have a regularly scheduled evaluation is that you won’t always recognize a dead end. That’s why we need to be intentional, that is, systematic with our evaluation
You don’t always recognize when you are engaged in mindless motion. Sometimes you will not want to admit you are not getting any closer to your destination. You need to overcome that reluctance.
“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.” Turkish Proverb
2. On an as needed basis:
Some times you will need to do an evaluation outside of the scheduled evaluations. Here are the three times I recommended you do an evaluation outside of the regularly scheduled evaluation:
a) When something positive happens: When ever you have gotten some favorable results, or after you have taken a big step, for example, something you were apprehensive about doing, but you did anyway, you should do an evaluation. Do it immediately after the positive thing happens. Give yourself praise for your bravery, for taking a risk, for the results from hard work. This is a time for celebration, so there should only be positive comments.
Giving positive feedback immediately after a positive result is called motivating feedback, positive reinforcement following a desired response; it signals to your subconscious that repetition of the same behavior is desirable.
b) When you are stumped. Do a formative evaluation when you hit a dead end, when you see you aren’t moving forward, or when you find your self floating and not making any headway. Figure out what is going on and what you need to do to get moving again.
c) When you find yourself dumping on yourself (berating yourself) when you are down on yourself, when you think you may have screwed up big time, when you feel you have failed, when any self doubts arise, instead of automatically dumping on your self, you need to move with intent to do an evaluation. Find out exactly what the situation is, and what you need to do to make it better.
Evaluations may seem like a pain, but they are truly powerful tools for making sure your dreams come true.
Coming up: How to do a motivating evaluation.