The Personal Performance Evaluation

Every day (well, most days) I take five minutes to self-assess in the form of a Personal Performance Evaluation. Sometimes I complete it in the morning, other times before bed. I make note of three positive actions taken or decisions made on the day, and one quality or habit that I see needs improvement. I also make a note of how I can make that improvement. I’ve found it to be a great exercise as it’s trained me to think quickly and critically about myself in a positive frame of mind.

I practiced this system consistently throughout 2016, and over the weekend I decided to review the entries. As I did, I realized that my suggestions to myself are more than instructions or needs for improvement, they’re reminders of what it takes to be healthy, happy and remain appreciative and selfless. Have a gander at some of the points and directions to myself below (they are in no particular order).

Time Management

  • Take a few minutes before each meeting to prepare (points, thoughts, questions). Ask, “what do I want to accomplish in the next 30/60 minutes?” Respect the time of those you meet with.
  • Take one day off each week from exercise. Rest! Good sleep is exercise in itself.
  • Take advantage of resources. Learn to recognize an opportunity and make it work for you (people, places, things).
  • Get to the point. Enough said.
  • Give the parents your full attention.
    • This one is very important to me, and it’s also something that took me quite a bit of time to make a habit. Take advantage of the time spent with them; ask questions; listen.


  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Ask questions and know the story first – work on resolutions afterward. Thanks, Dr. Covey!
    • I’ve found this to be a great time and stress saver, although it requires a LOT of practice and attention.
  • Focus on the gap between the stimulus and the response. I’m unable to control that which is outside of my control, but I can control how I react. Patience is a virtue; nothing said can be unsaid.
  • Read more. News, books, articles – multiple sources. Learn.
  • Don’t let personal problems or issues influence your behavior toward others. To put it simply, it’s important to control emotion. If there is an issue that’s clouding your judgement, it’s best to solve the problem immediately or dedicate time to its resolution later. Take a walk if you have to. Either way, keep the negative emotion at bay until it can be cooled with logic.
  • Consider weather conditions when gauging an outdoor workout effort
    • I run year-round and train for marathons. My takeaway here was, not all comparisons are apples to apples, so don’t allow them to be treated that way. Learn to give yourself some slack sometimes. I shouldn’t expect to hit the same paces I can hit on a 60-degree day on a 95-degree day. It sounds logical, but trust me – marathoners aren’t always logical!
  • Celebrate victory privately. Life becomes much more enjoyable when you learn to embrace wins on your own, without the need for approval.
  • Have tough conversations. They say that our lives are defined by the number of tough conversations we have. Easy is nice, but it won’t make me stronger. Get tough.


  • Pay mind to the body language of others. 90 percent of what we say is without words. What are people really saying to me?
  • Be less selfish.
  • If I want to change, I need to create that change. Nobody knows what I want better than me. Happiness, success, good relationships – none of these things fall in my lap on their own. They all take work – anything good does. If something is off or broken, nobody is going to fix it for me. It’s my responsibility to maintain self-awareness, invest in myself, learn from mistakes, and avoid playing the victim.
  • Listen to the gut. The gut is rarely wrong. I know when I’m fooling myself!
  • Ask constructive questions vs. preaching advice. If someone is trying to solve a problem, sometimes it’s best to let that person come to the decision on his/her own. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day …
  • Sit up straight. It’s good for the back and will improve confidence.

As I move ahead on my path of continuous personal growth, I’m excited to come to terms with the many more points that will come in this later part of 2017. Feel free to take advantage of one or more of the suggestions listed here if they aren’t already a part of your routine, and of course, don’t hesitate to share your own!





Kevin Joseph is a Chicago-based photographer and writer with a focus on urban lifestyle and design. For rates or prints, please email | @ke_vin_joseph

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  1. March 4, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    This is such great advice. I struggle to maintain consistency with efforts like this. Maybe I’ll try for a month and see where it takes me.

    • March 4, 2017 / 6:18 pm

      It took me awhile to get started and stick with it. Once I figured out how to make it work for me though, I found freedom in having all of my thoughts organized in a journal vs. strewn in my head!