To help keep myself on track, internist I’ve decided to do a quarterly review of my goals for 2010.
I’ll try to be quick about this, so here is a visual overview of the progress. There are 32 tasks, so approximately 8 should be done. I’m about on track for that, but slightly behind (the green & yellow squares in the image add up to 7). Here is a key for the image:
- Green: Completely done.
- Yellow: Ongoing tasks which I’m on track for but which can’t be considered completed unless I keep them up for the whole year (such as “organize desks”).
- Gray: Long tasks with measurable progress where I’m as far along as should be expected by the end of the first quarter.
- Red: Tasks which I’m far off where I should expect to be at this point.
Some things of note
As you can see in the todo list widget, my email inbox is still way out of control. I do okay at clearing out the non-actionable junk, but real emails which I need to respond to just end up piling up. Unfortunately, beyond that useful piece of data (which I didn’t need the todo list widget to explain to me), I’ve noticed that the todo list widget isn’t terribly helpful anymore. When I had a few discrete places I could go to track my tasks it made sense, but now there are just too many places & it’s not worth trying to integrate each new one with my widget.
I’m doing really poorly at my blogging goals, but not for lack of interesting things to write about. The blog posts which I think of as being worthwhile to write seem to be time-consuming to do correctly and I haven’t been setting aside sufficient time for that.
Also, I realized early on that it could be dangerous to myopically focus on a list of goals set at the beginning of the year. Therefore, I’m more than willing to cancel or change some goals if I feel that they’re no longer worth pursuing as much as other, more urgent goals.
What is perhaps my favorite goal on the list – doubling LyricWiki‘s traffic – was almost attained early on. I had a couple of weeks to really focus on the site, then right at the end of those weeks we had a spike from an interesting page getting big on StumbleUpon. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to focus as closely on the site and it’s stayed at about the level as right before the spike. So after the spike worked it’s way out of the monthly calculations, we’re only about half way to the overall goal for the year. I was really excited about the potential of being able to reach the annual goal in just the first quarter but it didn’t pan out.
That’s it for now. Let me know if you have any email tips!
As for email tips, I use Gmail’s filters heavily. Anything that’s from a regular source is labelled and auto-archived, which means that it shows up on the left hand side, but misses the inbox entirely. Mailing lists, notifications, everything. The pre-sorting helps a lot.
Now that only the stuff that actually needs my attention to sort hits my inbox, I just took a day or two and cleaned out my inbox entirely. If it didn’t matter, it got deleted if I didn’t want to save it, or archived if I did.
Once that’s clean, you’re in good position to keep it so. If you start developing another pattern of incoming emails, set up a filter. The key advantage here is that if it hits your inbox, you _know_ it’s important, and your inbox is almost a to-do list of things that still need done.
No personal goals? Tsk, tsk. :)