Last time we looked at New Year’s Resolutions from an instructional design perspective. Then I realized that a supplementary how-to was in order. How do you make a personal progress tracker that’s specific but flexible? Here’s one idea.
For the purpose of this example, let’s say you’ve decided to make this “your year” and you’re overhauling your whole routine. (Though you could scale this format back if you wanted to).
• Somewhere to brainstorm a list (May require pen or pencil if you’re writing it)
• Dry erase markers (3 colors recommended)
• Something to clean the whiteboard with
1. Brainstorm what you want, or need, to do.
2. Divide the list into two categories: things you’ll do frequently and things you’ll do occasionally, as time allows.
3. Set up the whiteboard as a two column chart with one additional section at the bottom. Fill it in like this:
4. Draw squares around the target number of days per week you want to do each frequent task.
5. Put the whiteboard up somewhere obvious where you’ll see it a lot. At work, that might mean above your computer. At home, that could be your bedroom. Keep the dry erase markers and cleaning supplies near it.
6. Pick one or more times for updating the chart each day. You update it by circling how many days of the week you’ve performed the frequent tasks. So, the end of the week might look something like this:
This is a great snapshot of progress during the week. In this example, one goal was met, one was exceeded, and two were missed. (Whatever ‘Frequent Task 4’ is must really be a pain for this person since they couldn’t even get themselves to do it once).
7. At the end of the week, erase the circles and start over.
What about the Occasional Tasks? They’re reminders. If you have spare time and can’t figure out what you want to do you can consult this list. You can erase them as you finish them, leave them in place to repeat another time, promote them to frequent tasks, and generally handle them however you want.
So here’s an example of a progress tracker being used at work:
There are plenty of different ways to make a personal progress tracker. I particularly like this one because it’s simple but dynamic. Do you always make your goal for a specific frequent task? Maybe you should increase the goal or remove the task from the chart altogether. After all, it’s part of your routine now. Are you always missing the goal for the same task? Figure out what’s making it difficult and work on removing the road block, or mental block as it may be. And since it uses 1-7 instead of the days of the week, it gives you more freedom than a locked schedule.
Tracking your progress is a great way to hold yourself accountable. It also gives you data to work with so you can make adjustments as needed. How could this method be improved? What do you use to keep yourself on track?
If you’d like to read more about training, learning, and instructional design check out the rest of this author’s blogs.
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