(Insert standard statement about the time between blog posts, along withÂ inevitableÂ apology, here.)
I’m reading about goals for a leadership and organizational behavior course I’m taking. Â The reading is a little academic in nature, which I really appreciate. Â Some of the important things I’ve learned (that are borne out by actual, peer-reviewed research):
- People tend to set higher goals for themselves in the workplace than their supervisors would have set.
- Higher goals lead to higher achievement.
- Goals that are shared are more likely to be accomplished.
- The process of setting and working on goals, not the prospect of reward, is what actually improves performance.
So what personal goals am I working on? Â I’ll share a few.
- To study 64 hours for each of the two classes I’m taking this semester. Â It should probably be more, but this is the amount I feel I can actually achieve.
- To exercise at least 5 days per week.
- To be consistent with reading the Bible.
- To avoid checking my e-mail (and looking at Facebook) before 1pm.
Lofty goals, you say? Aye, say I. Â They wouldn’t be worthy if they weren’t. Â So what am I doing to achieve these goals? Â Well, setting them was a good start. Â But I didn’t stop there. Measuring them is the next step. Â Here’s where to tech comes in. Â I use a series of specialized iPhone apps to record my progress. (Click on each app name for a link to the Apple App store.)
I use iGoal Pro 2 to track my study progress. Â It allows you to easily set time-based goals, then run a timer track your progress. Â It allows for pretty-looking Â charts and graphs, which are all-important to a data hound like me. Â Progress so far? I’m 6% of the way finished with my study goal for one class, and 4% of the way toward my other class. Â Not bad so far, but I need to pick it up if I’m going to hit 128 hours.
I useÂ iFitnessÂ to track my exercises. Â (This has since been removed from the iTunes App store, but I still use it.) Â iFitness is great for tracking both which days I make it to the gym and what I do while I’m there. Â Again, it has pretty charts and graphs. Â Pretty is important, and it helps me to make sense of the data. Â How am I doing so far? Â Well, I’ve been to the gym 29 times (and I’ve been running twice) since January 1st. Â If you include the running, that’s just barely more than 5 days per week. Â Besides tracking, I also set out my gym clothes next to the bed before I go to sleep. Â Help me to actually get up and get it done in the morning.
I use the great Bible app from YouVersion.com to both read the Bible and track my progress. Â They have pre-built reading plans to help you set and achieve goals with your Bible reading. Â There’s also a feature that will actually read the Bible to you, and this is what I use. Â I have a set time every day when I listen – it’s first thing in the morning. Â I listen while I get dressed, get to the gym, and warm up. Â My only beef with this app is that the audio tends to cut out about 2/3 of the time if you change internet sources (ie move from wi-fi at the house to a 3G connection as you travel. Â How am I doing on progress toward this goal? Well, this measure is a little more tricky. Â I’ve started and re-started this goal several times. Â But I CAN tell you that I’m 24% of the way through the Bible. Â In the books of Judges and Luke, specifically.
I’m usingÂ EvernoteÂ to track my fourth goal. Â Evernote is actually a note-taking program, but I’m using it because of it’s ubiquity. Â It has free apps for the Mac, iPhone, and the web. So I can pretty much always Â able to log my progress, no matter where I happen to be working. Â This one is a little less automated, but it’s still working. Â I use Text Expander and a keyboard shortcut to automatically insert a datestamp and timestamp. (The keyboard shortcuts are ‘ddate’ and ‘ttime’.) Â How am I doing with this goal so far? Â I’ve only been tracking this since the beginning of February, but here’s a screenshot of my log. Â This goal might bear some explaining. Â I’ll keep it short: I get more work done when I’m not living or working out of my e-mail inbox. Â Hence the goal. Â (Also, don’t expect a reply from me on anything first thing in the morning.)
That’s long enough, but I hope you picked up a tidbit or two about goals. Â And feel free to ask me how I’m doing with any of my goals. Â That’s part of the reason I’m sharing them!