Writing Performance Reviews: Getting Past the Blank Page

If you’ve ever had to complete a self or employee appraisal, you may know what it’s like to spend several minutes or maybe even hours staring at a blank page or computer screen. The wonderful thing about technology and automation is that it allows us to do our jobs more efficiently and effectively. An automated talent management solution can help save time and energy on tedious tasks that would normally take forever to complete using a manual process, and instead allow us to channel our attention to other important areas.

But even with an automated tool, writing performance reviews can be tough. As a busy professional with a lot on your plate, you may very well find yourself struggling to get those ideas and thoughts flowing.

The truth is, even natural born authors get writers block. In fact, when asked about the scariest thing he had ever encountered, novelist Ernest Hemingway once said, “A blank sheet of paper.” And on several levels, he was right. When it comes to writing, the hardest part is often getting past the blank page which may be why employees and managers find appraisals to be a nuisance, and huff and puff when it comes down to actually doing them.

If you don’t have the luxury of an automated tool to turn to this performance review season, or if you do, and even that’s not enough to get you going, here are some helpful and practical ways to overcome writer’s block and get those appraisals completed on time:

1. Plan with a deadline in mind. Always be aware of your due date, and plan accordingly to ensure that you’re successful in meeting it. Also keep in mind that by not realizing your due date, you could be contributing to a bottle-neck in the process and preventing others from doing their jobs.

2. Block off your calendar. Set aside the necessary time you think you’ll need to complete your appraisal(s), and spread it out over more than one day. Don’t try to overload yourself by trying to get everything done at once or you may feel overwhelmed. Breaking the task down over time helps alleviate some of the pressure.

3. Take breaks. If you’ve been staring at a blank page for more than 15 minutes, take a breather and come back to it. Whether it’s getting up to walk around, or moving on to another task for the time being, taking a step back from the task at hand is more often than not the best thing to do.