Daily Form: Emergence of the Multiple Goals Tracker

Day 2 This morning, I went to Starbucks and made a copy of yesterday’s Illustrator file. For today’s sketch, I transcribed the meaningful accomplishments from my timesheet, and dropped in a Concrete Goals Tracker-style week tracker w/ a draft version of generic project achievement point weights.

What I like about the silo approach is that I can scan my major tasks for the week and gain a sense of what choices are available. However, I felt an urge to have some way of encouraging progress. The Concrete Goals Tracker (CGT) handles a single goal well, and I thought perhaps it could be extended to handle multiple goals.

In the regular CGT, I identify specific areas of achievement for freelance designers and coders, and assign point values to them in a way that rewards many supporting tasks that happen frequently while really calling out the major achievement of COMPLETING a goal and SHOWING it to someone. Those are the two things that matter, in my book, when it comes to being productive. Here’s the standard list for freelancers:

  • 10 points – life-sustaining billable work! / signing new business!
  • 05 points – ship code / show design / planning and accounting
  • 02 points – new self-promo materials / blog post / biz dev (networking) activity
  • 01 points – meeting someone new / talking to someone you already know

The basic premise behind this: billable hours and new business sustain your business. Everything else should help promote that; they’re listed in diminishing point values. Showing something you’ve done is a more concrete way of selling yourself than self-promotion/networking, which in turn is more concrete than just talking to people to keep yourself top-of-mind.

For the Multiple Goal Tracker (MGT), the point value list has to be less specific but still build from small supporting tasks up to major accomplishments. Here’s my starting list:

  • 10 points – major result completed! / showed major result to someone!
  • 05 points – a step completed! / showed step result! / applied needed asset!
  • 02 points – creative progress / admin chore complete / planned next step
  • 01 points – explored possibility / told someone about project / acquired asset

It’s up to me to define what is a “major result”, a “step completed”, and so forth. While this may bother the beancounters who are looking for an impartial reference, I don’t believe it’s strictly necessary to have one. While the way I score my tasks may be different than yours, I’m counting on consistency within my assessment, which is not an unreasonable assumption to make. What really matters is the day-to-day and week-to-week difference in points.

I spent a couple hours screwing around with the form layout. I’m printing these on my black and white laser printer, so I’m avoiding color and not worrying too much about fonts, colors, and proportions.

The big thing I need to remember is to look at this more than once a day. My home office is kind of a mess at the moment, so I need to clean up the space so I can at least keep this screen up on the laptop, within view of my main workstation. In a way, this is an interesting way of prototyping a digital version of the planning tools. With all the WordPress customization I’ve been doing on the side, I’ve been getting more familiar with the use of databases to store and retrieve data, so who knows…maybe something will come of it!