(last updated on April 29, 2014)
Pursue Tangible Results to Achieve Greater Goals
The Concrete Goals Tracker (CGT) is the original Printable CEO™ form, created one evening in 2005 to alleviate my desire to have a “trusted personal CEO” that would tell me what to do. I figured since I couldn’t hire anyone to do the job, I might be able to go the cheap route and print one up on paper :-)
Designed for Minimal Tracking Effort
The idea is pretty simple: every time you complete something on the “worth doing” task list, you award yourself points. ONLY things you’ve done that produce tangible benefits are worth points, and the point scale is weighted so the most goal-directed criteria earn the most. Goal-supporting achievements, which tend to happen more frequently, are weighted less. It’s up to you whether a task “counts” or not toward your goal. You can even award multiple points for a single task if it makes sense to you…try your best to optimize!
The list shown here is designed to create a successful freelance practice, based on the idea that “showing and talking about your work leads to more work”. It lists categories of tasks that can be framed as being productive relative to your overall goal. For a freelancer, that’s making stuff and showing it to people, and also talking to people constantly so you are on their mind. It all pays off when you get that check. There’s a small business version too in the downloads section.
As you accomplish various goal-related items throughout the day, fill in the appropriate bubble to log the points. At the end of the day, you will see how well you did (or didn’t). Each CGT form tracks an entire week, so you will see how you did every day, and week-by-week…and most importantly, what you did to move yourself along your path. Since the items on the task list award points only for tangible results, you will have made actual progress.
The theory behind the form itself is described more in the original 2005 post on the Printable CEO and the followup Making of the Printable CEO; there is a good bit of video game design psychology embedded in this paper form.
The CGT has evolved into a bunch of other forms that help visualize different aspects of my workday, and I no longer use it daily because it actually did its job: it got me focused on some processes that actually deliver meaningful result; all I had to do was focus not on what they were, but how I could tell if I was on the right path or not, and whether my daily output was really helping me forward. The idea is pretty simple: by focusing on making things that people can see and counting what you’ve done in a simple daily manner, you plant the seeds for daily progress. This is a high level guidance tool, much like the way a good manager will tell you what she needs and you pick your own way of making that happen without a lot of micromanagement. With luck, this is a form you use to get started in a new direction, and then you will pretty much know what you need to be doing. I haven’t heard much feedback about it lately, but the general impression I have is that people use it for 2 weeks to six months, then move on.
The concept is translatable to different fields too. For example, there was also some interest from a magazine, so I created a small business edition based on that.
Make New Year’s Resolutions Printable Lists with the Editable Versions
There are “write-your-own” PDFs with suggested methodology for how I put together a good “worth doing” list, which is an art in itself. I’ve written instructions on how to create new year’s resolutions using these forms. By using the make-your-own printable versions of the CGT, you can put together a pretty decent goal tracking kit using either 8.5×11 paper, index cards for you Hipster users, or mini-book formats (pocketmod compatible, even). There is also an editable Excel version.
Note: You’ll need to use Acrobat Reader to modify the text fields in the editable PDF versions.
Download 2010 Concrete Goals Tracker Printable Forms
- Download The Standard Editable Form for making your own lists
- Download The Standard Form for freelancers
- Download The Small Business Edition for service businesses
3×5″ Index Card Printable Formats
- Download Standard 4-Up version for freelancers, with cutting marks
- Download Editable 4-Up version for making your own lists
- Download Editable 3-Up for making your own lists on Avery® index card stock
- Download Single Card Editable version for making your own list, for people with card printers
- Download Single Card Tracker for tracking daily points (use with Single Card Editable above)
PocketMod / MiniBook Format
- Download MiniBook Editable version, 8 pages.
- Download MiniBook Freelance version, 8 pages
- Download MiniBook pages 1-2 or 5-6, for use with mixed PocketMod printouts
- Download MiniBook pages 3-4, for used with mixed PocketMod printouts
Editable Excel Goals Tracker
- Download Editable Excel version. It isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done. Use to create your own variations in points. Note that this is not an interactive calculator or tracker spreadsheet as is.
For an overview of all the forms available, visit The Printable CEO™ Series Page. Enjoy!