Sounding Board

How Am I Doing?

When you were an employee, feedback was probably important to you, but now who tells you how you're doing? Unfortunately, that's just one more thing you have to do yourself. Lia Huber, owner of Out of the Box Concepts, a San Francisco marketing firm, offers these suggestions:

*Write specific tasks necessary to accomplish your goals on a calendar. This lets you manage your daily work while giving you an overview of the big picture.

*Track your time. Huber uses an accounting program (QuickBooks Pro by Quicken) that makes it easy for her to record and categorize her time into billable and nonbillable work. "Time is your most valuable asset," she says. "I always have the timer on so I can analyze where I'm spending my time and check profitability."

*Ask your spouse or a family member to hold you accountable for your goals. Sit down with this person on a weekly or monthly basis, and share your goals and what you plan to do to reach them, as well as what you've done and how it worked. By doing this, Huber says, you can't just shrug off something you didn't do--you have to explain it to someone.

*Acknowledge your achievements. "Nobody is going to send you a memo saying `Great job!' " Huber says. "But when you've done a great job, take the time to recognize it and reward yourself. Go out to dinner, take a day off, buy a book--somehow give yourself the recognition you deserve."

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