While scanning the web last night, I found a particularly useful productivity tool called the Concrete Goals Tracker.
David Seah — designer-extraordinaire and fellow New England resident — has created a great series of free productivity tools called the ‘Printable CEO’ that aid in your high-level goal setting, time tracking, and task tracking efforts.
In his studies of leadership and excellence, David discovered a simple question asked by the most successful executives in business: What can I do to add value to my company? This question would later inspire him to go in search of his own personal CEO.
For David (as well as us), hiring his own personal CEO to run his life was just not realistic, so he designed the next best thing: a ‘printable CEO’ to motivate his business development activities. The Concrete Goals Tracker was built off of the idea that if a task at hand doesn’t add value to your bottom-line (whatever that might be to you personally) then do something else that does.
The first component of the Concrete Goals Tracker is designed around a list of tasks that contribute to achieving your goals. Weighted points (10, 5, 2, and 1) are assigned to each task which reflect their power in moving you closer to accomplishing those goals. Lower weights are given to tasks that you do frequently (with the assumption that you don’t need the extra motivation) while higher weights reflect those tasks that are more difficult or require more effort or motivation to accomplish.
The second component is centered around a weekly progress chart that has these fill-in bubbles that you can use with a No.2 pencil (similar to those ScanTron tests that we had in high school). The different bubbles are labeled with the weights that correspond with the previous list.
Whenever something on the list is accomplished, you fill in the respective bubbles and add them up in the final column for the day. The benefit comes when you set some minimum level for that day like, “Today I’ll make 6 points.” When you reach or exceed that number you know that you’ve had a good day. This is also easy to track your progress over the course of a week or a month and you get visual confirmation that you are making headway on your goals.
I find this particularly appealing over the standard to-do list because of the absence of the guilt-factor. It seems that whenever I make a daily to-do list and don’t accomplish everything on it, I feel terrible. However, with the Concrete Goals Tracker it lends to a sense of achievement because you’re focusing on the progress you’ve made and what you’ve accomplished instead of what you haven’t.
So how can you apply this tool in your life? Well, there are many options. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, you can leverage the existing freelancer or small-business owner PDF versions that David has created. Otherwise, if you’re like me and want to apply this to other areas of your life you can customize your own through either the the Excel version or the editable PDF version. For example, if you’re a blogger one of your goals might be to increase your feed subscribers to 2000. So you would assign point values to tasks/results that help you accomplish this. A 10-point result could be guest blogging on another blogger’s site. A 5-point task might be writing a blog article; 2-points could be commenting on someone else’s blog and 1-point might be responding to comments on your own blog.
Another example might be with your health & fitness goals. Perhaps a 10-point result would be losing 5 pounds. You might earn 5 points by exercising or going the whole day without eating any junk food. 2 points might be when you drink 8 glasses of water a day and 1 point might be simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The whole point is that you could apply this simple system to many different areas of your life.
David has created a number of cool tools in various formats that you can download by checking out his Printable CEO Series.
For the next ten days I’ll be applying the 10-Day Experiment to the Concrete Goals Tracker to see if it’s worth continuing. Be sure to check back to see my results!