Open Thinkering


Tag: Targets


Birthday cake

CC-BY-SA Jessica N. Diamond

There is still no cure for the common birthday. (John Glenn)

Usually, when my birthday comes around I’m either ill, disillusioned or frustrated. Well I’m not that ill today, but I’m not too far away from the other two…

If I lived on Mars I’d be celebrating my 15th birthday soon. If I was on Mercury, I’d be almost 117 years old (thanks, Your Age On Other Worlds!)

A move this year to a job which gave me 50% extra pay, propelled me into the Senior Leadership Team of a 10-site Academy for 2,800 students aged 3-18 kind of pales into insignificance compared to what others achieved during the time they were 28:

  • Niels Bohr published his revolutionary theory of the atom.
  • George Sand published her first novel, Indiana.
  • Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof invented the artificial language ‘Esperanto’.
  • Thomas Wakley began publishing the journal The Lancet.
  • Bob Marley recorded I Shot the Sheriff

Despite not quite measuring up to these luminaries, I’m not feeling as much of an underachiever as I have in previous years. This is partly due to my promotion, but also due to reading an excellent book entitled Ideas: a History from Fire to Freud. What comes through loud and clear is that the genuises whom we immortalise were pretty much the first among equals. People’s fortunes very much depend upon serendipity. That’s not to say it always involves hard work – that’s a given! :-p

I’m not going to list the things I’ve achieved this year – it’s not helpful, for example, to link to a page showing that this is one of the Top 10 Education blogs in the UK… 😉

Instead, I’m going to set myself some targets. Targets for my 29th year were:

  1. Apply for and obtain a job that means my wife, Hannah, doesn’t have to work. (Hannah’s now doing a few days of supply teaching each month)
  2. Write half my Ed.D. thesis around the concept of digital literacies. (my ongoing thesis is online at – I’ve written around 17,000 words)
  3. Start a new project – either through Folens or independently that brings together some of the ideas Nick Dennis and I have been discussing. (I can’t divulge too much, but Nick and I are in negotiations with a major educational publisher…)

Targets I’m setting for my 30th year are:

  1. To finish my Ed.D. thesis, ready for submission on 1st January 2011.
  2. To start learning to play the guitar (my parents bought me one for my 21st birthday!)
  3. To go running at least 3 times per week.

So yes, I’ll be 30 at the end of 2010. No biggie. 😀

Using Joe’s Goals to track and then improve your productive outputs.

In keeping with yesterday’s post about actually using tools before recommending them, I’d like to introduce you to Joe’s Goals. As with all the best productivity tools, it’s really very simple and straightforward. It looks like this:

Joe's Goals

As you can see, I’ve specified my ‘goals’ down the left-hand side and the days of the week appear along the top (along with the date). If you complete your goal on a particular day, clicking on the relevant box fills it with a green ‘tick’ icon. There’s also the option to have a ‘journal’ entry box which you can see at the bottom of the above screenshot.

I’ve been using Joe’s Goals for a few months now and have found it very useful. The satisfaction and motivation element of being able to ‘tick off’ that I’ve completed a target I’ve set myself is very worthwhile. There’s three main benefits as far as I see it for using Joe’s Goals are that you can:

  1. Track what you’ve been up to in order to see what you did when.
  2. Monitor trends (e.g. I’m statistically more likely to write a blog post if I’ve been for a run that morning)
  3. Motivate yourself to do something you haven’t done for a while (in my case, work on my Ed.D.!)

Have YOU tried out Joe’s Goals? What did you think? What are the alternatives? 😀

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