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Are there any recommendations for software to help with this? I have traditionally used Excel in the past but am wondering if it is the best solution.

What I have the most difficulty doing is logistically tying the actionable items and their progress to the actual sections where I am recording the measurement.

:?:

Mark's picture

I don't use software. Just write them down in a little notebook I have. Nothing special.

To be fair, I don't have that many goals, professionally. I have projects to complete by certain dates, and if those deadlines are goals to you (it's just nomenclature), then I use Outlook tasks, believe it or not. I use GTD for Outlook, and haven't gotten good at it at all yet.

For my book, for instance. I have a goal for that, and it's written on a sheet of paper in my little notebook, and then a copy of that goes in a manila folder where I put stuff to remember for the book.

That's it.

One of my favorite managers has something even more elegant, though as anti-software as you can be. She taped a 3x5 card with her top 5 goals for the year on it into her lap drawer on her desk, which she opens 20 times a day. She pushes the peanut forward every day now... and is good at it.

Mark

Gary King's picture

For almost two years now I have used the Franklin Covey pulg-in to Outlook (Plan Plus). It does an adequate job for me. I also use it as a task manager and for setting yearly as well as acreer goals. I think you can get a 30 day free trial download...

ctomasi's picture

Like Mark, I don't have a lot of professional goals other than my annual objectives.

I have tried Outlook, but after about 30 tasks, it becomes overwhelming and hard to find what's important.

I've tried spreadsheets and it becomes a mess quickly too.

Paper is good for quick note taking, but tends to be heavy on maintenance.

For a few years I was using a program called LifeBalance (from www.llamagraphics.com). Recently I have come back to this tool for two main reasons.

1) It offers a great way to go through your weekly review in an outline format.

2) It allows context sensative task lists with a concept of "open" and "closed" places (which fits well with us GTD types.)

Having this matrix view of your life is invaluable - to me anyway. It's available for PC, Mac, and Palm.

DanStratton's picture

I have been using My Life Organized (www.mylifeorganized.net) for a month or two now. I have come to depend on it quite a bit. It is pretty flexible and does a pretty good job of keeping me moving things forward if I take the time to set up the goals correctly. I really like the way it syncs the desktop and handheld apps together.

ctomasi's picture

My friend/neighbor/former boss had a big hand in developing MLO. He took what he liked about LB and brought his improvements to the MLO crew.

My initial impressions... It was a bit more "data management" than I'm willing to put in to the system. As it is, I don't use all the buttons and dials in LB to get the most out of it.

A complex algorithm isn't necessarily a good thing (and I'm a guy who generally thrives on complex tools.)

We should talk sometime (off the forums) and do a product comparison some time.

DanStratton's picture

That would be good, Chuck. I'm out of town this weekend. ping me at danATdwstratton.com next week.

noahcampbell's picture

I've been successful with Outlook To-Dos and Email follow ups (the red flag on the right of the message in the inbox).

It is not perfect, but it does keep all actions that I need to complete on my radar.

Two additional steps I take.

* For Tasks, always set a date to complete. If you don't know, set it for the end of the month. This will give you a reminder.
* For Tasks, set the outcome or objective you expect to achieve with this task.

The last point is important because when a task is given to you, it is expected that the outcome will "push the bean" forward. When I have a task to "Touch base with Jim about product delivery" I usually know the context when I create the todo.

PierG's picture

I use the calendar I have in outlook. I did some views (Customize current view ... menu) to help me in having a big picture on different categories of activities (I have many meetings so I need to 'clean' the calendar to see clearly other topics).
For some other things I use tasks as suggested by MT: for 'touching base' + for resume update + ...
PierG

accomplice_guy's picture

Hi all:

Yesterday I learned about Manager Tools Forum from an Accomplice user. As I just posted in the project management forum, I'd like your feedback on Accomplice's virtual assistant (free download at www.accomplice.com).

We just spent about 2 years building a better way for busy professionals to more effectively organize goals by breaking them into activities and to-dos that can be shared via the internet with team members or groups. You can drag and drop emails into Accomplice from Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird and turn them into shared (and trackable) tasks.

I won't pitch the product in this forum, but you can check out an article CNN Money ran yesterday about Accomplice (see http://money.cnn.com/2006/10/18/technology/personaltech/accomplice/index...).

You might also be interested in this article from April which touches on different ways people manage their goals (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/08/AR200604... ).

Cheers,

Kent

bats's picture

I personally have used Accomplice and rapidly becoming a big fan this software. I showed this to one of my financial investors and he is also happy with it. I downloaded the version that works on a USB key (my key is a 2 gig Memorex Traveldrive U3 enabled). This version allows me to sync all my tasks on Outlook, with the key. I can then add modify or delete on computers wherever I can find them, do my work and leave no trace behind. This is essential for security reasons.
Until recently I have been a heavy user of the Franklin Day Planner. The Accomplice program duplicates these features and a few more, eliminating the need to carry around the 3 inch thick, 7 ring binder that does not fit into my attaché.
Currently I am using the Accomplice software to set reminders for me as explained in the Networking Podcast, this works great while I am traveling.
P.S. I would like to hear a Podcast on Accomplice and other organizing tools to help interactions with my Teams