• Darlene Mathieson

Are You Making Visual Progress?

For busy entrepreneurs, progress is essential; so how can progress sometimes still feel so frustrating?


A major reason for still feeling overwhelmed or as though you are not getting anywhere, can be triggered when your progress is predominantly behind the scenes. This is especially true when a lot of progress has been made over a period of time without any visual cues as to your achievements.



Even though progress is still being made, the lack of visual improvement or change can be frustrating or disheartening to both yourself and to others. Working away in the background achieving unseen success is important, but just as important is the achievement of visual progress. Here are three keys to understanding visual progress in the workplace.


1) Visual Progress Equates To Value

The major point here is, we see real value in visual progress. Relating value to visual progress manifests itself in many, and even small, ways – a new certificate on the wall, a stack of new business cards, a new office sign or equipment. For some of us, even a tidy desk.


So how can you give a visual presence to your behind-the-scenes accomplishments? Visual progress can be achieved in many ways, from a billboard advertising the accomplished goal to a simple checklist on your desk. Some people even like to add things that they have just completed to their ‘To Do’ list - just so they can tick them off.


If your business has achieved many things behind the scenes, consider having a meeting with a visual presentation to show, through graphics or images, what the team has achieved. If a particular member of your team has done well, consider awarding them with a small trophy or a bunch of flowers for their desk. If you have achieved a significant amount behind the scenes for a client, consider creating a report or spreadsheet for them that visually represents the achievements and progress that has been made.


2) Visual Progress Creates Satisfaction

Visual progress and visual reminders of goals reached and other achievements can work very effectively in both your professional and personal life. People achieve psychological satisfaction from visual progress charts, graphs, and diagrams. This is why both parents and teachers use this strategy with children. In business, the charts or diagrams may not display any extra information about a project, but yourself, your team or your client can get a better ‘feel’ for how things are progressing and the current situation.


Computer programmers have cottoned on to this, and use visual progress bars (visual illusions) to speed up the perception of time by ten percent, while the user is waiting for something, e.g. to load or download. “It is not uncommon for [such] illusions to have a measured magnitude of around ten percent,” said George Mather, a psychologist at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.


3) Visual Progress Stimulates Motivation

There is a sense of pride and accomplishment in completing tasks and making progress. Being able to see these in a physical form reinforces that achievement, and it affects our emotions when we see it – anywhere from feeling calm or confident to excited.


Progress can also be a great source of motivation. Having visual cues can help stimulate drive and action, resulting in even more progress and increasing both motivation and results. Consider introducing a source of visual progress for yourself or your team to help increase clarity, motivation, dedication and responsibility for achieving the end result.