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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: The Boss List

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 by Andrew Conkling

It can be hard to have the clearest perspective about what you did in the past year, so this week's tip, shared by rossruns, describes a way to keep track of some big items for use in a performance review.

Like many folks out there, I have an annual performance evaluation activity at my company.

Also like many folks out there, I used to end up racking my brain the last week before the evaluation is due, trying to figure out just what the heck I did over the past 365 days (besides surf the internet). It was difficult to remember all the important "brag list" points, especially when under a deadline to turn in my review.

Now that I've got my "Boss List" in RTM, though, that's a thing of the past. My "Boss List", aka known as my "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" list works as follows:

  1. Add a new tag to tasks that I want to record for later (in my case, I use "boss" for something easy to remember and add). Tag tasks with this new tracking tag at time of creation, or more usually, right before marking it as completed. (I also occasionally will add a task specifically for the purpose of documenting something I did, such as a training seminar or mentoring activity, tag it "boss" and immediately mark it as complete).
  2. Create a Smart List with the following search string:
    (completedWithin:"1 year of 11/1/2011" and tag:boss)

This "Boss List" then makes my performance evaluation a breeze, as I just access the Smart List and format prettily for my review.

Some additional notes:

  • I use the full date (11/1/2011) so I get everything within a year since the last review. After filling out my evaluation, I change the date to 11/1/2012 and it lets me track, through the year, how many things I've added to my "Boss List" to make sure I'm on track to have things to report NEXT year.
  • You can use a similar list to report things more often. For example, if you have a monthly status review, you can make your search for (completedWithin:"1 month of Saturday" and tag:boss) and access the Smart List on the last week of the month to see all the activities to report that month. Heck, you can even do this weekly if you're subject to micro-managing, but for those folks, I find it's better not to tag things as "boss" and just use the search (completedWithin:"1 week of Sat") and filter yourself based on what you think is important. The "boss" part is really key when you're looking at a full year's worth of completed tasks, and saves you from having to go through the mental effort of filtering who knows how many tasks through your "importance detector" to get the key items to use for your performance evaluation.

Thanks for sharing this tip, rossruns! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

Do you have a suggestion for our weekly Tips & Tricks post? Got an interesting set-up or idea? Head over to the Tips & Tricks forum, add a new topic, and let us know how you use Remember The Milk. Each week we'll give away a 1 year Pro account to the user whose idea inspires the Tips & Tricks Tuesday blog post for that week.

Posted in: Tips & Tricks