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How do you track your goals?

I keep thinking about tracking my goals. I end my days planning the next. I start my days writing my morning pages. The next thing on my mind is to keep planning the day.

I need structure to get things done, and I need structure to keep progressing; meaning I need structure to be moving forward.

Systems are important to me. It’s not just about the to-do lists; lists to stop me from forgetting the tasks.

Systems are important to me and my overarching goal. And – I am doing everything to stay on top of projects and the various sub-goals.

The reason I’m telling you this, is that I receive a lot of questions regarding how I work and the systems I’m using.

This is the answer to a conversation I had with a woman, just a few days ago.

Getting things done

There are many important factors I am using to structure my day. Here are five elements I am using every day:

I get a lot of ideas during the day. I receive a lot of e-mails and various input. The first thing I do is to capture everything I need and add them to my inbox.

I keep testing various tools. I have written about IQTell and Todoist, but you you can use a completely different tool. You can use paper or whatever you prefer.

I have discovered that I need a very easy method to capture all the information I need. The inbox is a place to store all my ideas so I don’t need to think about them (and so I won’t forget them).

I process everyting in my inbox once a day. I archive some, I add various actions to each task, and I organize everything (adding them to the projects, and adding the time I’ll do them and the context related to each action). This way it’s very easy to find all the different information and the actions I have specified.

Every single day, I do the tasks. That’s the work I have planned for the day.

Once a week. Early Monday morning. I review everything. I add new information. I edit actions. I edit time. I evaluate what I’ve been doing, and removing what’s not relevant any more.

Know your day

I told her; It’s one of my biggest hurdles. At the same time, it’s probably one of my biggest strenghts. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

Let me guess, she said.

I had nothing against her guessing, but I hadn’t expected that she would be right.

Yes, I told her. I always structure my day. I plan everything. But, some days nothing every ends up like I thought they would. I start my day with no meetings, and I end up with five.

No matter how structured my day is, or how it ends, everything is part of my journey.

How do you track your goals?

I haven’t told you this, but I’ve made another switch. I am now using Omnifocus to manage all my projects and tasks. The reason I made another switch (I’ve been using Omnifocus before), is that it has the best method of reviewing and the best system to integrate email with my projects. That’s it. It works great to get things done, but …

I miss one thing though. I’m not sure if I’ll start using a different system to track my goals, or if I’ll be using Omnifocus to create new habits and reach every goal as well. But, I feel the need for something different to prioritize everything and see how much closer to my goals I am getting.

Let me just end this post with a question.

Are you tracking your goals, and if you are, how are you tracking your goals?



6 responses to “How do you track your goals?”

  1. Danny Brown says:

    Great breakdown, Jens – I’m particularly fond of #5, which I tend to find a lot of people forget about, funnily enough. They get to #4 and say, “Oh well, that didn’t work, let’s try something else.”

    The problem is, they don’t see why it didn’t work, and where it could have been saved – a change in wording, a change in process, a change in personnel, etc.

    A review is crucial to making sure future mistakes are avoided. Good stuff, mate.

    • Thanks Danny.

      Do you use a tool or software to track your goals?

      • Danny Brown says:

        Hi mate,

        I use a mix of BaseCamp when on projects, and simple Google Calendar / To-Dos for personal stuff. Nothing major, but definitely helps when needed. 🙂

        • I have tested BaseCamp and it worked great for the projects. At the moment I’m combining Omnifocus with iCal. It works good, but I’m thinking that I need a better system to keep me focused and tracking if I’m moving forward to my goals, instead of just working on tasks. I might just be asking myself too many questions, and making things too difficult for myself.

  2. Hanna says:

    I use EfficientPIM (a software program) to help me list all the things.
    Here are my steps:
    1. Separate short and long term goals by grouping or categorizing
    2. Create to do lists with specific time (for example facebook posts from 6-7 pm, etc), and set a reminder for those tasks that need a long time lets say 3-5 days to complete, which is really helpful. Many people at this step would like to use color coded labels to show priority and i think its good to do that, i do not like make my screen looks too colorful, so do not like use the labels personally.
    3. Hide the completed tasks from my list, and thats very easy to check later.

    • Hi Hanna,

      I have never heard of EfficientPIM, but I’m going to take a closer look at it. It seems that you have a great structure for your goals and how you work to move towards them.

      I struggle with long term goals, not so much with the short term ones.

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