Last year I wrote a post about how to make a personal progress tracker. I’ve made some changes to my own progress tracker since then and thought I’d share them. After a few months using the old way I started to get frustrated with it. My progress tracker made it look like I had a lot of lazy weeks. But I knew that I’d been doing other important things that weren’t on my progress tracker. So, I decided to find a way to “give myself credit” for those tasks.

Here’s a look at what’s stayed the same and what’s changed:

What Stayed the Same on My Personal Progress Tracker

  • Uses a whiteboard and dry erase markers
  • Still has the “occasional task” area at the bottom
  • Needs updating daily
  • Still focuses on flexibility

What Changed on My Personal Progress Tracker

  • Only needs two dry erase marker colors, instead of three
  • It doesn’t use the frequent task area anymore
  • It’s now divided by day of the week, instead of by task
  • Each day of the week is divided into two columns, “Need to Do” and “Want to Do”

How the Updated Personal Progress Tracker Works

  1. Draw the chart on the whiteboard. Leave an area at the bottom for your occasional tasks.

personal progress tracker

  1. Write your occasional tasks in the bottom area. Then add in any weekly commitments or tasks that you need to do on specific days.


Personal Progress Tracker

  1. The personal progress tracker is now set up. Pick a different color dry erase marker to use for the daily updates. Once a day, fill in what you did. Put each task or activity under “Need to Do” or “Want to Do,” based on whether it was necessary or for fun. Note: Only write in what’s helpful for you. In this example, the owner of this personal progress tracker is using it at home. So, the person using it hasn’t added “Went to work” because that’s obvious to them.

Personal Progress Tracker

  1. Update the progress tracker every day. At the end of the week, see how you did.

personal progress tracker

  1. Then erase all the daily updates. You’re ready to start a new week. (At this point, the progress tracker should look the same as it did in step 2).

Analysis of the Updated Personal Progress Tracker

This updated version does a much better job of showing what you did during the week. You can look at it and see the “story” of what happened. So, it succeeded in “giving credit” for all sorts of tasks, not just the handful listed on the old version. You can still see what you didn’t do by comparing the daily updates to the occasional tasks. And it doesn’t involve erasing and moving circles on a number line every day, which helps keep the board a little cleaner.

But it has some problems. It takes more work to compare the top and bottom areas so see what you didn’t do. Looking at one row and seeing if there was anything there was much faster. It’s also easier to “just do whatever” rather than focusing on specific goals since the frequent tasks aren’t there. This leads to a false sense of accomplishment because it feels good to look at a filled in board. If you don’t have any measurable goals, however, it’s like giving yourself an “A for effort.” I miss the frequent task area, which was really a type of check list.

Future of the Personal Progress Tracker

I’m thinking about combining the two methods for 2018. Maybe I’ll use the week day break down of what I’ve done with the frequent tasks area. That should be the best of both worlds. But it would take up the whole white board. So, I’d either need to leave out the occasional tasks area, get another white board, or move that list. Maybe it would work as a memo list on my smartphone. Time will tell.

Whatever you do to keep yourself motivated and on task, make sure it’s productive and enjoyable to use. If it’s productive but not enjoyable, you’ll get sick of it. If it’s enjoyable but not productive, you won’t accomplish your goals.

Would you like to read more about training, learning, and instructional design? Check out the rest of this author’s blogs.

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