(Insert standard statement about the time between blog posts, along with inevitable apology, here.)
I’m reading about goals for a leadership and organizational behavior course I’m taking. The reading is a little academic in nature, which I really appreciate. 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? I’ll share a few.
- To study 64 hours for each of the two classes I’m taking this semester. 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. They wouldn’t be worthy if they weren’t. So what am I doing to achieve these goals? Well, setting them was a good start. But I didn’t stop there. Measuring them is the next step. Here’s where to tech comes in. 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. It allows you to easily set time-based goals, then run a timer track your progress. It allows for pretty-looking charts and graphs, which are all-important to a data hound like me. 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. Not bad so far, but I need to pick it up if I’m going to hit 128 hours.
I use iFitness to track my exercises. (This has since been removed from the iTunes App store, but I still use it.) iFitness is great for tracking both which days I make it to the gym and what I do while I’m there. Again, it has pretty charts and graphs. Pretty is important, and it helps me to make sense of the data. How am I doing so far? Well, I’ve been to the gym 29 times (and I’ve been running twice) since January 1st. If you include the running, that’s just barely more than 5 days per week. Besides tracking, I also set out my gym clothes next to the bed before I go to sleep. 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. They have pre-built reading plans to help you set and achieve goals with your Bible reading. There’s also a feature that will actually read the Bible to you, and this is what I use. I have a set time every day when I listen – it’s first thing in the morning. I listen while I get dressed, get to the gym, and warm up. 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. How am I doing on progress toward this goal? Well, this measure is a little more tricky. I’ve started and re-started this goal several times. But I CAN tell you that I’m 24% of the way through the Bible. In the books of Judges and Luke, specifically.
I’m using Evernote to track my fourth goal. Evernote is actually a note-taking program, but I’m using it because of it’s ubiquity. It has free apps for the Mac, iPhone, and the web. So I can pretty much always able to log my progress, no matter where I happen to be working. This one is a little less automated, but it’s still working. I use Text Expander and a keyboard shortcut to automatically insert a datestamp and timestamp. (The keyboard shortcuts are ‘ddate’ and ‘ttime’.) How am I doing with this goal so far? I’ve only been tracking this since the beginning of February, but here’s a screenshot of my log. This goal might bear some explaining. I’ll keep it short: I get more work done when I’m not living or working out of my e-mail inbox. Hence the goal. (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. And feel free to ask me how I’m doing with any of my goals. That’s part of the reason I’m sharing them!