Project Goalpost

Geez…I have to get on here more often. The last few months have been crazy, and as usual, I’m juggling a lot of projects and ambitions. My latest projects are two eight-week-old beagle puppies that my wife and I recently acquired. They’re a handful, and the last two weeks have blurred by, but I think we’re finally starting to get into a routine with them, which is a relief. Hopefully I’ll be able to start getting up at 415am again and knocking stuff out.

One of the things that I’ve been meaning to do for the last six months or so is come up with a unified goal plan for my life. I’m a pretty ambitious person, sometimes too ambitious, and I’m an optimistic perfectionist with procrastination tendencies, which is to say that I have good ideas, turn them into HUGE ideas, decide they have to be perfect, put them off, and then get depressed because I’m not meeting my goals. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Anyway, over the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own shortcomings and I’ve come up with a few systems that work well for me, when I’m disciplined enough to use them.

  1. Goals – Having a solid path is crucial for me
  2. GTD – Managing my time
  3. Involving other people in my goals

Over the last year, I’ve adjusted to freelance work, but there’s a lot of things that have slipped a little over the past twelve months. It finally really hit me a couple weeks ago that it’s time to stop messing around. It’s time for me to get those things under control, and Project Goalpost is my code-named attempt to do that.

Project Goalpost is an effort to unify my goals from all different areas of my life, streamline them, align them with my current projects, devise a plan for goal review and habit building on a regular basis, request accountability, and incorporate a GTD workflow that includes these higher priorities.

Every six months or so, I put together a new list of goals, based on what’s going on in my life. This means that I have lots of lists of goals and priorities, spread throughout my life…in notebooks, on Google Docs, on my hard drive, in my email, etc. These goals are often in conflict, are rarely reviewed, and many are not SMART.

On top of that, my use of GTD has really fallen by the wayside over the last 6-8 months. The difference in utility from using GTD at 80% and using it at 100% is incredible…in order to be truly effective, you must use it constantly and consistently. I have not been, and thus most of the utility is wasted.

What I’ve decided to do is take the following actions:

  1. Collect all my goals and lists of things I want to accomplish from all the various places they’re stashed
  2. Consolidate, eliminate, and add any new goals to the list
  3. Break the list into major categories (Personal, Physical, Real Estate, Career, etc) and time frames (short-, medium-, and long-term)
  4. Ensure every goal is SMART
  5. Ensure all categories have roughly the same amount of goals, to help ensure well-roundedness
  6. Compile into a master document
  7. Destroy or archive all source materials to avoid distraction
  8. Add all initial steps towards goals to GTD system
  9. Devise a schedule for goal review (daily for short-term, monthly for medium-term, every six months for long-term, etc)
  10. Determine what projects have relevance to goals, and ditch the ones that don’t
  11. Ask five or more people to review my list and help hold me accountable
  12. Post my list here and ask my readers to keep me accountable

These are typically the kinds of things that I would do on my own, without telling anyone, but I need some accountability. I need someone to ask me how my goals are going, so I’m laying it all out there. With the possible exception of a few very personal goals, I’ll be posting the results of Project Goalpost hopefully within the next few days.