Tag Archives: Goal

Making Goals: Assess Your Wants & Needs

We are nearing the new year and it’s always a good time to make assessments. Where have you been? What have you accomplished? What did you enjoy? What did you hate? And then how can you improve on what you’ve done before?

Begin by assessing this year’s activities. This can be done for all aspects of life, but we will focus on our genealogy life in this series. I tend to assess things like how many lectures did I deliver this year, how many new lectures did I write, how many institutes did I attend (as a student) and what were the topics I focused on, what research did I do this year (general topic/surname), list any big projects I completed, etc.

Some of my goal categories are:

    • Blog Posts
    • Lectures
    • Continuing Education (institutes & conferences)
    • Clients
    • Articles
    • Research Projects

I keep track of what I do in several ways. I have my digital calendar. I use the built-in Mac calendar synced to a Google calendar. On there, I have several calendars such as my family calendar, my personal work calendar, and my speaking calendar (that I’ve posted to my website, see the menu bar above). I also keep a folder (both digital and paper, imagine that) of my speaking contracts for the year, as well as a paper calendar where I calendarsketch out the speaking agreements I’ve made. This helps me visualize when I have free time, when I need to plan time for travel, and so on.

I also use a paper journal/planner system. I personally like Michael Hyatt’s Full-Focus Planner (this is NOT an affiliate link). It incorporates goal-setting with a daily planner. I find that I am more productive when I can have my paper planner sitting open on my desk in front of me. I can see my daily goals and tasks. Digital calendars, to-do lists, and notifications are too easy to ignore. They start to blend in with all of the other “noise” that my devices make.

Toward the end of the year, I sit down and tally up the above from my system(s). Then I compare that from the year before (if you haven’t been keeping track, it will take a year to catch up). I assess if I’ve done better (hopefully) or worse (hopefully not). I also assess what I enjoyed and what I did not enjoy. There’s no sense in making goals and completing them if you aren’t enjoying doing it.

Once you’ve assessed your past performance and activities, you can then look ahead and determine your needs and goals for the next year. I will dig into this more in the next post.

Year End Recap – Long Term Goals

notepadWhen I create goals, I like to create two kinds of goals, long-term and short-term. Generally the short-term goals feed into the long-term goals. Also, short-term goals tend to be smaller, easier, things you can take care of quickly whereas long-term goals take more time, planning, determination, and consistency. The completion of short-term goals gives you the sense of accomplishment and the momentum to keep up with the long-term goals.

Last year I created a list of my Long-Term goals for 2013. There were as follows:

  • Organize my office (this is more of an ongoing, every day resolution, but still, I need to keep it visually handy).
  • “Process” my binders. This is in relation to my organization system according to family groups. I recently changed it a little bit and so all of my families need to be caught up.
  • Finish and submit my BCG application by December. (I went “on the clock” at the end of December 2012.)

Let me break them down by goal:

Organize my office – I’m happy to report that this is possibly the only one that I feel is pretty much done. This summer we finally finished our basement and built a very nice home office (that I’m mentioned before). I have plenty of file cabinets, shelves, and desk space to keep my genealogy organized.

“Process” my binders – I know that most of you don’t even know what this means, but in terms of updating my research organizing system, I’ve only done 2 or 3 of these binders. I have about 20. So, while I’ve done some, it’s not as far along as I’d like. I’ll keep working on it.

Finish and submit my BCG application – Well, some things happened with this that have caused me to get an extension. For one thing, I did a lot more education in preparation for the BCG than I had previously thought I would. This was a good thing. In taking those courses, I realized that I would need some more time to really do it right. My new deadline is December 15, 2014. This will make an appearance on my 2014 goals list.

So even though I did maybe half of my long-term goals, I feel like I made quite a lot of progress. These are LONG-TERM goals after all and it’s ok if they carry over to the next year’s list.