Saturday, June 18, 2005

Goals (Palm)

Tracking goals is one of the big advantages the Palm has over a paper planner. While I have outlined a good system for how to track goals on paper, the process is quicker (and more fun) on the Palm.

When something comes my way that I realize is a goal, I phrase the goal as a statement that is either TRUE or FALSE. I am answering the question, “I can check this goal off as done when what is true?” For example, let’s say I notice the piano is out of tune. (It I had the tools at hand and the expertise to do the job myself, it would be one action, and be entered on my Home list as "Tune the piano." Since I don’t have the tools nor the expertise, and getting this piano tuned is going to involve determining who to hire to do it, arranging a time, etc., I am going to create a new task (In the "None" category in Outlook or the "Unfiled" category on my Palm) and enter this:

+Piano has been tuned

Notice the “+” sign. That is my signal that what follows it is a goal. Any time I see a task which begins with a “+” I know I have a goal that has no action step associated with it. On Outlook, any item such as that is going to sort to the top of the list of whatever category it's in.

The next step towards accomplishing that goal is going to go in front of the +. In this example, the next step is to go to the yellow pages and contact some piano tuners. My task now looks like this:

Look up piano tuners in yellow pages+Piano has been tuned

Other action steps may come to mind. I am thinking of questions to ask during the phone call. I will need a place to wrote information I gather during the conversation. I will use a note attached to this task to house all of this type of thing. I will assign this task to the “Home” category since I am going to be consulting the yellow pages while at home.

Let’s say found three people in the yellow pages. It's 10:00 PM, so calling them right now is not a good idea. I jot down their names and numbers in the note section of the task. I don’t check off the task.
Instead, I change the task line to read:

Call piano tuners+Piano has been tuned
------------------------------------------------------
Sam Jones-555-8091
Joe Smith-555-1999
Jim Adams-555-8111

Ask during call:
Price?
When are you available?

(Since the next step is to place the calls, I change the category to Calls.)

I have talked to 2 piano tuners and left a message for a 3rd to call me. I am waiting on his call before I make up my mind who to hire. My task would look something like this (the first line is what would be in the task line. The rest is the attached note):

Jim Adams+Piano has been tuned
------------------------------------------------------
Sam Jones-555-8091-Charges $100 for the job. Is booked up until June 15.
Joe Smith-555-1999-Charges $75 per hour. Can come any Saturday.
Jim Adams-555-8111-LM 5/24 9:00

Ask during call:
Price?
When are you available?

(Since the status of this goal is that I am waiting on a call from Jim, I change the category to “Delegated.”

Jim Adams calls back and says he is returning my call. I know to go to the Delegated category, and there is all of the info so far. Jim has the lowest price, so we go ahead and schedule a day and time to come. Now I have:

Jim Adams-Tuned piano+Piano has been tuned
------------------------------------------------------
Sam Jones-555-8091-Charges $100 for the job. Is booked up until June 15.
Joe Smith-555-1999-Charges $75 per hour. Can come any Saturday.
Jim Adams-555-8111-LM 5/24 9:00. Charges $80 for the job and should take 3 hours. He will come Saturday at 9:00.

Ask during call:
Price?
When are you available?

At this point, I will do a couple of things. I will copy this info:

Jim Adams-555-8111-LM 5/24 9:00. Charges $80 for the job and should take 3 hours. He will come Saturday at 9:00.

I will leave the category as Delegated (since the next step--showing up to tune the piano--is in someone else's court), and enter this appointment on my calendar. I will attach a note and paste:

Jim Adams-555-8111-LM 5/24 9:00. Charges $80 for the job and should take 3 hours. He will come Saturday at 9:00

Saturday afternoon as I review the Delegated list, I see the entry: "Jim Adams-Tune piano+Piano has been tuned." That original statement--"+Piano has been tuned" is now true, so I check it off the task. The goal has been completed!

Let's say Jim did not show up at the appointed time. His contact info is in the note attached to the appointment, so it's easy enough to pick up the phone and call him. I find he has decided not to do the job. The contact info for the other piano tuners in that one task. I would probably remember to look for it in the Delegated list. If not, I enter this in a search:

+Piano

Since I won't have many goals that begin with the word "piano," Iwill hit on the correct item quickly. I can now call one of the other tuners.

In summary:

1. Each goal is tracked in a single task.

2. The task line includes the next step to be taken, a “+” sign, and the goal. Everything else goes in a note attached to the task.

3. As each step is completed, nothing is checked-off. Instead the completed task is replaced by the next one.

4. When the goal has been achieved, the task is checked off.




Post a Comment