Midyear reports are written in a variety of contexts, in academic settings, business, charity work, or any context where management wants to get a sense of how things are progressing. The majority of the work in such a report occurs before the writing is done. You should be collecting data every day on what you have been doing, if the report is about you, or about what your group has been doing. If you have the information, crafting the report itself is not difficult.
Gather information consistently, as soon as you learn that a report will be due, even if it is six months away. It might help to keep a journal of what you do, and take ten minutes at the end of each day to fill in the details. Note tasks accomplished, research done, people contacted, in short, everything. Your most powerful tool will be the evidence that you gather.
Note especially what managers’ goals are and how you are working to accomplish them. Also, take notes on problems encountered and how you overcame them.
Review your notes periodically to see if you are on task, doing what your boss wants you to do. The journal and notes that you take are a great source of feedback. If you notice that you are spending too much time at unproductive tasks, you can change that behavior, and then you can report that change as an increase in productivity on the mid-year report.
Write an introduction that notes your key goals and how you accomplished them. Managers may or may not relish the idea of reading stacks of reports, so you can stand out if you capture attention in the introduction.
Organize the report in one of the following ways: problem/solution, goal/achievement, chronologically, or categorically. Which pattern you choose depends on your situation. Problem/solution shows how you are adapting to new situations and working and thinking independently. Goal/achievement shows your major accomplishments and lets your manager know how valuable you are to the organization. Chronological order might be suited to explaining the process taken to reach one major goal, all the steps and challenges along the way. Categories might be suited to workplaces where you perform discreet functions, like organizing, purchasing, coordinating and goal setting. You might also use a combination of patterns, for example, starting with a section on goals and achievements, and including a section on roadblocks encountered and overcome.
Consult with your manager if you have any doubt about the format she requires, and if there are previous good examples available, ask to see one or two. Since reports are written in such varying circumstances, take the time to research exactly what is wanted.