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« Goal Monitoring - II | Main | Keeping on top »

Goal Monitoring

My diet continues to be both successful and easy, so I am looking at ways in which I might be able to extend the principles to achieving other goals.

First one needs a target which can be measured easily, and which can move progressively to a final goal. The one I immediately thought of was the advertising income on this site. How suitable is that? It’s measurable and it will respond to the right sort of actions. It does however fluctuate madly from day to day so I would have to use some sort of average to measure it. That’s easy because Google Adwords continuously reports the average daily earnings during a month.

So the target is ok. I could use the daily average for January as my baseline and decide on a figure to aim for by the end of February. It would be easy then to plot a steadily rising line which I have to keep to as closely as possible.

How should I chose what the target should be for February? On the principle of maintaining flow, a target should be sufficient to challenge but not overwhelm. So I would need to decide what the minimum amount that would challenge me would be, and then what the maximum amount would be that would not overwhelm me. That would give me a range of possible targets. Where in that range should I set my actual target? According to my friend Michael Neil, the target should be set about one third of the way up the range.  So if my range is between $5 and $8 a day, my target should be set at $6. That sets a good challenge, but leaves room for me to surprise myself.

So that’s the target sorted. Now what is going to be the equivalent of the rules which I set myself progressively in the diet? The diet rules are No Seconds, No Snacking, No Sweets, Small Portions, Skip 1 Meal, Skip 2 Meals, and Skip 3 Meals. These are all about what not to do rather than about what to do. How on earth can I find an equivalent in terms of taking actions that will increase my Google Adwords income?

I think the simplest way is to phrase it negatively again. Each “rule” would be a 30 minute slot out of my day in which I am not allowed to anything other than work on the target directly. So if I am below the target I have to add another 30 minutes, and if I am above the target I can subtract 30 minutes.

Hmmm… will this work? Possibly. I’m not sure whether 30 minutes is the right amount of time. There’s only one way to find out - and that’s by trying. I’ve still got a week left of this month. So I’ll set it up first thing tomorrow morning, and see what I can achieve by the end of the month. It’s really just a dry run to see if the concept will work, and to shake out some of the rules before doing it for real in February.

Reader Comments (1)

Mark - I think whether you frame your actions negatively or positively, the key is that they are actions. They can be turned into habits. With your diet, each item can be measured daily as done or not done. (For me it's working better to have an unchanging set of diet rules that are turning into habits - in place all the time without thought. But measuring each day if I've kept to my rules or not is the main point.) I believe that you will successfully 'port' your diet system to an ad-income-boosting system. I look forward to seeing just how you set up your rules so I can toy with the idea myself. Best of luck!
January 24, 2007 at 19:18 | Unregistered CommenterZane

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