Technology – everything from our computer to our cell phone – seems to have invaded every area of our modern lives. But we often do not take full advantage of the features and benefits that can really make our lives easier. Use these technology tips to help you achieve your goals:
Use the alarms on your computer or cell phones to keep you on task and concentrating for specific blocks of time you’d like to set aside to work on your goals. Search for free online software programs that allow you to set alarms and timers right on your computer. Or keep it simple go get the trusty kitchen timer and get back to work!
Track your hours.
Want to know how much time you’re REALLY utilizing on activities like email, online shopping, and Farmville? Use an online service like RescueTime.com to track time on different activities. You’ll be surprised at the end of the day how much time you spend on non-productive activities when you’re not paying attention.
Aside from keeping you honest about this wasted time you can flip between two or three real projects and be able to see where your focus has been on those projects. So even time well-spent can be tracked for the purpose of staying ON track.
Join a group.
Join a forum or email list of people who are working on similar goals as you are. Do a search at Groups.Google.com or Groups.Yahoo.com to find email lists on literally every topic you can imagine Whether you’re starting a company, founding a non-profit, trying to lose weight, or writing a book, you’ll find a group that’s right for you.
Keep in mind, you don’t want these groups or forums to take your focus away from your daily tasks and goals, but the information and support of a group of like-minded individuals can be invaluable.
Track your progress.
Use Excel’s charting option to create an ongoing chart or graph of your progress. Print it out or use it as your screen-saver for extra motivation. If we maintain accurate measurements as we move along toward our goals, simply jotting down this measured progress in notebooks is fine, but why not use technology to expand your knowledge, tweaking data to give you even more information that can be helpful in the future.
You can set reminder emails on your computer or calls on your cell phone. When the email or call comes in, you know it’s time to break away for a planning session, or perform the next step on your list. Don’t try to keep your schedule in your brain. Let technology do it for you and free up your brain for the real work… achieving your goals!
Mind mapping software like FreeMind, MindGenius, MindManager, VisualMind, and VUE allow you to brainstorm and capture your ideas in a visual format. Mind mapping is a great way to figure out steps towards a goal, determine priorities, and even write blog posts, books, and more. There are plenty of brain-flexing capabilities programmed into this software, so have fun with it. Explore your thoughts right there on your computer screen.
Whether you need someone to take a look at your business plan or help you figure out the tax implications of hiring an employee, you can find great mentors in every field. Ask successful colleagues to suggest a few names or do a quick Google search to see available options. The thing to remember is someone has done it before – whatever it is – and is very often pleased to assist someone just starting out with the same goal.
Working on new projects can be lonely, particularly when you’re stretching yourself outside your comfort zones. Even if you’re not looking for an accountability partner right now, you can still network with others in the same industry, sharing resources and war stories. Or just vent – that’s important, too!
One of the first places I look when I’m trying to figure something out is YouTube. There are tens of thousands of videos created for everything from the proper form for push-ups to how to install a WordPress blog. Before paying someone to help you learn something, see if you can find the information and figure out what you need to know – with a little help from a YouTube video. If not, like with a mentor, look for a referral to someone who can help you with training in the area you need.
Create an informal focus group.
Want a quick weigh-in on whether Logo #1 or Logo #2 better expresses your company’s brand? Need to know if stay-at-home moms respond to headlines the way you hope they will? Log onto Twitter or Facebook and ask away. Within minutes you’ll have tons of answers – for free! You won’t have to get stuck waiting for feedback before you can move on. Social media is a great option for getting answers and feedback to all your needs.
Blog your experiences.
Everyone loves a good success story, particularly one from an “ordinary” person. Start a blog and create an online journal of your journey towards your goal. Not only will you have the motivation of knowing your blog readers are following your efforts, you will most likely get feedback from your readers that will trigger all sorts of new ideas – you just might have an information product in the making.