Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The New York Legislature and Goal Setting

Okay, we all know that goal setting is important. Its also important, I've found, to break your goals into little achievable tasks. I was keeping track of these in a little notebook. It was great. I felt very accomplished.

I lost my notebook. I've been looking for it for three weeks. And what have I accomplished in the meantime? I couldn't tell you. Obviously a notebook system is not working in my disasterously messy lifestyle (which by the way, the cleaning up of was a goal for a while).

My mental goal list is fluid, flexible, forgettable, and every task on it seems like way to much work or will take too much time to complete. Time is at a premium. Things like "Finish that Bargello Quilt!" says My List. And then My Self replies rather snidely "That will take four hours, I don't have four hours. Lets do something else. Like play Guild Wars! Now there is something you can do in a short amount of time. Do it! NOW!"

It reminds me of this scene from "1776"

"Lewis Morris: I'm sorry Mr. President, but the simple fact is that our legislature has never sent us explicit instructions on anything!
John Hancock: NEVER? That's impossible!
Lewis Morris: Mr. President, have you ever been present at a meeting of the New York legislature? They speak very fast and very loud, and nobody listens to anybody else, with the result that nothing ever gets done."

I feel like my brain is the New York Legislature. And the best part is that I don't ever take the time to reset my goals and get organized because...why, you ask? It will take several hours. And I don't have several hours.

"....with the result that nothing EVER gets done...."

Which leads me to the reason behind my long rant: obviosly a notebook does not work. Plus, it won't fit in my purse. Of course, neither will my laptop. I may need a bigger purse. But it lead me to look at online Goal Achievement Organizers.

Here is my two cents:

 GoalEnforcer is a really great little program that lets you brainstorm, organize, plan, & prioritize in a visual setting. I love the graphics, the GUI, and the options. Its extremely easy to use, view, and see your progress. I think this may be the best long-term goal program I ran across. What I don't like is the cost. To get all the bonuses to really make the program work effectively, its about $70. That is a lot of money in today's economy and our current financial situation. It is also designed exclusively for long term goals. Daily repetitive tasks that I would like to start and track (exercise, wash dishes) are really not part of the system. I suppose you could create a different project for each day, copy the repetitive tasks to the clipboard, and add them to each project. (completely doable, adjusting dates and completions might be a little bit time consuming). Another problem: The trial version doesn't come with a time out. It has save and a few other features disabled. Which makes it hard to determine if I really want to spend the money on it, i.e. "I can't live without this!" Also, downloadable program, not available in the cloud.

This is exactly the opposite of GoalEnforcer. Its designed to encourage good habits such as exercise, chores, or bad habits like drinking too much soda, eating junk food, etc. The program seems to function on a rolling week schedule. Its easy to use, easy to understand, easy to track, and completely free. Includes exactly no frills or cool graphics, but really doesn't need them. Downsides: No long term goals/task lists, etc. You can subscribe for a year for $25 but it isn't required to get full functionality. If you like it, I'd recommend subscribing just because I believe in supporting the people who write programs that I will use.

....Too bad I can't combine Joe's Goals with GoalEnforcer.... then I'd have the perfect program.

Pretty much the same as GoalEnforcer, except significantly less visually oriented. Also, does not integrate with a calendar yet (iCal coming soon, the website says). Creates a very nice "tree" system for goals. Also has integrated the SMART system for setting goals, which is nice and which GoalEnforcer lacks. Bonuses: completely free.

WeekPlan is a weekly planner with goals and tasks. Not as barebones as Joe's Goals, as it allows subtasks (but only if you subscribe to the pro version.) Its based on the book '7 Habits of Highly Effective People.' I found it to be kind of so-so.

All in all, most of these were "OK." I liked features of each and disliked features of the each. I would probably buy GoalEnforcer if it weren't so expensive.

Sooner or later I will find a system that works for me. I will probably be using Achievr for a while.

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