One of the things that bothers me (especially as a degenerate sports fan) is when folks make public predictions, but then never really follow through on assessing those predictions. So as I set out to make a couple of public New Year’s resolutions for 2011, I’ll first look back on my 2010 resolutions.
I made 2 big ones for 2010. I mostly proclaimed these to myself:
1) Run 500 miles in 2010
2) Find a new job inside or outside IBM
I tracked my progress for the running resolution at daytum.com/joshpayne. As you can see (if you check out that link relatively close to the posting day for this entry), I fell short by 131 miles. My modest goal, having never run consistently for an entire year, was to run 10 miles a week, for the entire year. Thus the 500 miles goal. Though I missed the goal, I was generally pleased with how I did. Tracking my progress publicly on daytum.com helped to motivate me (its linked from my twitter profile). I ran consistently throughout the year, used my new treadmill a bunch but was done in by two relatively unforeseen factors: a flood on my property that left me with a big cleanup project for over a month and time management challenges once I joined HubSpot back in June. I found that I wanted to make sure I was doing a good job at HubSpot at the cost of running, for the first month or so of employment. Once I got comfortable in the new job, my new routine and my new responsibilities, I worked running back into my life. Those two factors cost me 100 miles or so. And then a slight knee injury in mid-December accounts for the rest of the miss.
Finding a new job? I did that one. Though I didn’t really tell anyone about that one at the outset of the year, for obvious reasons.
So what’s in store for 2011?
1) I’m going to renew the 500 mile pledge and continue to track it publicly on at daytum.com/joshpayne. I would have liked to up the ante a bit, but given that I missed by over 25% in 2010, I’m going to keep my quota at the same level and hope I exceed it this year.
2) No multi-tasking. I recently re-read an article on the HBR blog that accounted for all the negatives around multi-tasking. Basically, my take home from the article was that your brain does one external thing well at a time. Doing two at the same time seriously impacts the quality of execution of one, if not both.
This observation definitely resonated with me, as multi-tasking at IBM was a way of life. Every day was filled with simultaneous execution of conference calls, email responses and instant messaging. I was on 6 hours of conference calls every day. Pulling off this resolution would have been really hard while at IBM. But I’m optimistic that I can pull this off at HubSpot as I have many, many fewer meetings and almost all of them are in person. No more tapping on my laptop in a meeting unless that work is directly related to the meeting.
I want to try to improve the quality of the primary thing I’m doing. And if something is so important as to be my “primary” task, I should give it 100% focus.
But this resolution will also carry over to my personal life. I already stopped talking on the phone while driving. But I’m going to give in less to the temptation of the information available on my phone at any spare moment. So no more checking email while “playing” with the kids. Or checking twitter while “watching the kids bathe”. I think my engagement in the primary activities (i.e. spending time with my kids) will be better for both me and my family. And no more reading while watching the game. I either wasn’t enjoying the game or I wasn’t processing the information in the book. Or both.
(and for the record, the following don’t count, by my arbitrary definition, as multi-tasking: listening to music while driving, listening to classical music while working, watching TV while running on a treadmill, singing while in the shower).
Now I’m not sure how I can effectively track my success at this second resolution (any ideas?), but I’ve already found it challenging and fulfilling to attempt to keep.
What are your resolutions? And how are you inspecting your results for those resolutions?