As a leader, the health of your marriage directly affects the impact of your leadership. I have witnessed this time after time. Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.
image courtesy of shutterstock.com/Tatiana Katsai
Praising your spouse in public is one of the most important investments you can make—in your family and in your leadership. In this episode, I share five reasons why it positively impacts your effectiveness.
This is a guest post by Wayne Stiles. He is an Executive Vice President at Insight for Living Ministries and author of several books, including Grow Strong. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.
Not long ago, a man in front of me at the checkout line spent $100 on lottery tickets. “Hey,” I asked him, “do you ever break even on all that?”
Hopefully, by now you have written goals for this next year. If not, my new course, 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, can guide you through the process.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Lonely
But as much as I believe in having a set of written goals, it is not enough. You have to take action and then systematically measure your progress. Fortunately, there are numerous apps designed for just this purpose.
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Recently, I went on a search to find an app for my own use. I want to share with you what I found. But, before I do, let me define how I use the various goal-setting terms. As I soon discovered, different people and organizations use these terms in different ways.
Goal: “Something you are trying to achieve.” I sometimes use objective,target, or even project as a synonym.
Milestone: “A significant marker that indicates progress toward a goal.” I sometimes use subgoal as a synonym.
Habit: “Something a person does often in the same way.” Habits are not usually an end in themselves; they are a way to achieve a goal. I often use rituals, disciplines, or practices as synonyms.
Tasks: “Actions a person takes that move them toward a goal or milestone.” I often use actions or to-dos as synonyms.
Some applications track all of these items. Most only track a subset. Regardless, there are hundreds of apps for helping you achieve what matters most to you.
I have not reviewed each of these extensively. This is a high-level flyover. I wanted to share my notes and give you a sense of what is available, so you can get started now. Here are seven of the most popular.
Nozbe: Strictly speaking, this is a task management app. It is what I use for tracking my goals, habits, and daily tasks. I set up each goal as a project and then create milestones, tasks, and habits related to each goal.
Admittedly, it is not a goal-tracking or habit-tracking application per se. It is a task management system. It is also a little more difficult to learn than other task management systems (e.g., Wunderlist, Remember the Milk, or Things), but it is also more robust than the others.
It has multiuser support built in, full integration with Evernote and Dropbox, and a very responsive development team. While I wish it had some of the features I found in other apps, I am sticking with it.
Nozbe is available on nearly every platform, including mobile devices and desktops. I most often use it on my Mac desktop.
GoalsOnTrack. Without question, this is the most robust goal-setting program of the bunch. It allows you to record the goal, the purpose (in my terminology, key motivations), start date, end date, metrics, subgoals, habits, and action plans.
I particularly like it because it allows you to think and plan hierarchically, which is how my brain works. Even Nozbe doesn’t do that. Instead, it uses labels and tags.
It also syncs due dates with Google Calendar and Outlook. You can even create goal templates. I only wish I could track non-goal related projects and tasks, but maybe that is too much to ask. (That’s also why I am sticking with Nozbe.)
While this app is powerful and easy to use, it falls short on aesthetics. It is badly in need of a design overhaul to compete with newer, iOS 7-inspired apps.
LifeTick. I really like the philosophy behind this program. You start by defining your Core Values. (Unfortunately, I think the program isn’t quite clear on the difference between “Core Values” and “Areas of Focus.” These are two different lens.)
Once you’ve defined your values, you define SMART goals and then add the tasks or steps required to achieve the goal. It even provides an activity feed, so you have a date-sequenced journal of all your goal-related activities. You can also add freeform notes.
I also like the fact that it provides multi-user functionality, so you can invite others into your goals, either globally or selectively. This is something that even GoalsOnTrack doesn’t have.
While the program does provide for calendar synchronization there doesn’t appear to be a mobile version, which makes this program a non-starter for me.
Strides. Let me say at the outset, this app is beautiful. It’s really my favorite in terms of design. The graphs are particularly compelling, giving you the sense that you are looking at a dashboard for your life.
However, the program isn’t so much a goal planning program as a goal and habit tracking program. You first decide what you want to track and then choose the appropriate tracker:
It’s one of the few programs that understands there are different kinds of goals and each requires it’s own tracking system.
My one complaint with this program is that it is only available on the iPhone platform. There’s no desktop version—not even an iPad version. This program has a lot of potential, but I don’t think it’s quite there yet.
Lift. This app is the granddaddy of habit-tracking programs. It starts with the premise that you have a better chance of reaching your goals and establishing new habits if you crowdsource encouragement.
However, this is the very reason I don’t use it. I want to share my goals but only selectively with people I trust. As it stands now, anyone can follow anyone. (Lift just added a privacy feature this week, but it is an all or none proposition.)
One of the best features of Lift is the ability to create plans. These are a set of actionable steps designed to accomplish a specific goal. Once designed, you can share them with the community.
As a user, you can also join plans created by others. There are hundreds. Just the list will stimulate your creativity and expand your sense of what is possible.
Lift is simple but too limited for my use. If you simply want to track a few habits it’s fine, but as a goal-tracker, I have not found it useful.
Habit List. If you simply want to track habits, and don’t care so much about goals (as I have defined them above), give this app a whirl. It helps you track “streaks”—how many times in a row you have completed an action.
The program provides the ability to create flexible schedules with habits that are to be done on specific days, non-specific days, or intervals. For example, you could schedule a run for M-W-F, eat dinner with the family three nights a week, or write a blog post twice a week.
You can also skip habits when you are on vacation or simply want a break. You can resume when you already.
Unfortunately, this is an iPhone-only app. There is not a desktop or iPad version. It also doesn’t harness the power of community to achieve your goals.
irunurun. Of all the habit-trackers I tested, I found this one to be the easiest and the most intuitive. As an added bonus, it “gamifies” the process of building new habits, making the process fun.
You begin by entering the action or habit you want to track. You then weight the action, assigning it a point value. Once all your actions are entered, the game begins.
You start each week with zero points and then work to add points each day. If you did each action at the appointed time, you would earn a perfect score of 100 for the week.
You can also invite family, friends, or colleagues to any action and build an accountability team. Unlike Lift, where the action is either public or private, irunurun proves the opportunity for selective sharing, which is what I teach in my course.
The app is available via a browser interface or on the iPhone and iPad. The company also makes available personal versions, team versions, and enterprise versions. They also have a private label version in the apps.
Will you find the perfect app? No. But any of these apps will help you improve your life and accomplish what matters most to you. Pick the ones that meet your criteria and get started. Something is better than nothing.
Question: Which of these apps have you tried? What did I miss? Share your answer on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
The ability to build rapport and trust is a critical success skill in leadership. This is obvious if you are an author or speaker, but it is necessary even if you aren’t.
image courtesy of shutterstock.com/Tatiana Katsai
If you are going to be successful in influencing others—even if it’s just to buy your point of view—you must become proficient at building trust.
My friends at Rainey Media just finished my new speaking reel. I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
By the way, if you have thought about bringing me in to speak for your event, now is the time to do it. I have cut my available speaking dates in half this year. It is part of an intentional strategy to stay home and create more content. I only have five more events to book and then my schedule is full. I will not be accepting more invitations once that happens.
This is a guest post by Leo Widrich. He is the Co-founder of BufferApp, a Twitter app I use daily and can’t live without. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.
Wow, the new year has really come around fast this time, hasn’t it? One of the things that I find most helpful towards the end of the old year and start of the new one, is to evaluate how I work.
Especially, with the huge amount of online tools and the fast pace at which they’re changing, there’s almost always a way to improve my workflows and to make my life that much more efficient. What better time of the year to do so than at the beginning of 2014?
Well, it’s that time of year again. Last year is officially over. The new year has just begun. The future is pregnant with possibility!
Photo courtesy of ShutterStock.com/Pipop Boosarakumwadi
As you may know, a few weeks ago, I launched a new course called, “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever.” In addition to offering three free videos about goal-setting, I hosted a live Q&A call on the topic. We had over a thousand people on the call and dozens of great questions. In this episode, I share the recording of that call. I think you will find it helpful as you finalize your plans for this year.
Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.
See You Next Year!
I hope you are enjoying a little down time during the holidays. This is one of my favorite times of the year. I am spending time with my family and planning for 2014. I will return to my blog after the first of the year.