It doesn’t have to be as bad as you think, really. While reports are important, they don’t have to be boring and long. Use these tips to make your reports easy and useful.
Keep it Short
If your report is 50 pages you’re probably doing it wrong. In fact, even if it’s 5 pages you’re probably doing it wrong. No one wants to spend the time to write up or read all of that information, and at the end of the day, most of it won’t be necessary. People only want to read so much. Keep your information short an concise, and don’t worry about the extra unnecessary fluff.
Having goals is great, and very important so you have something to aim for. Having too many unclear goals, well, that’s not so great. Your reports need a purpose, why are you creating them, what are you looking to get out of them? You don’t need 20 different goals. Set yourself only a few concise, clear, measurable goals achievable in a time frame to report on.
Now that you have some clear goals you want to achieve, it’s time to measure them! Whether your reports are done weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, your goals should always be monitored. Measure your progress from report to report to monitor increases or decreases in performance.
Find the Whys
And not the Y after the letter X. If you notice a change in your data find out why it happened. If you don’t you could be leading yourself blind into the future. It is always useful to dig a bit deeper to find out why something has changed, whether there was something in the community, or something internal, find out what it is, and make a note on your report. This means you can learn from what went wrong and keep doing what went right.
Humans are visual creatures, and we like to be able to see the change. Using graphs and tables is an easy way to show data on your reports. Always pick the type of graph or table most suitable for your data. If you’re showing change over time, do this with a line graph or if you’re looking at month specific data, a pie graph might be more suitable.
Now go on, see how easy reporting really can be.