I am a big fan of gamification. FitBit has done it with physical fitness. Tripadvisor has done it with reviews. I’m sure there are other examples, but these are the best known. I have often thought it would be a great idea for personal finances. Something like Mint.com but as you add goals you get badges for reaching those goals. Since no one has made that happen yet, I am just making something up for myself. Nothing fancy, just setting some goals and celebrate when certain targets are hit. While not exactly what I had in mind, there is a site you can learn lessons, take quizzes and earn points and badges. Better Money Habits is a partnership between Bank of America and Khan University. Sign up for free, pick a topic and learn something. Even if it is a repeat of what you already know, it’s good to help keep you motivated.
- Traveling. I like traveling alone, but now that I have an amazing travel partner (my hot wife Kelly) it’s way more fun.
- Travel points. With travel, I have tried really hard to travel cheaply. Using points, flying Spirit, etc. The obvious problem with this is you usually have to use credit cards which is always a slippery slope.
- Travel writing. Sort of. I use Tripadvisor anytime I hit a town, even one I am familiar with. You generally get both good and bad reviews of a place from travelers and locals. I take the time to rate and review places I find, have been recommended or that I frequent at home.
- Camping. I have purchased some great gear from REI, much to my wife’s chagrin, but it makes being outdoors all that more fun. She doesn’t camp much, but I have friends that do and my daughters also love it.
- Real Estate. I have always had a fascination with buying and selling homes. I worked for Dream Homes, a build on your lot builder, before they were purchased by Jim Walter Homes. That sparked my interest and I read all kinds of books, attended seminars and did precisely nothing with that knowledge. Now that I have a solid career, I am revisiting that interest.
- Eliminating debt. I’m not sure if this is an interest or obsession. I have tried more than a few times to dig out of the hole, but it seems like there is always something to pull you back in. Travel, camping gear, points collection…:^} This one is usually in conflict with the others because I’m impatient.
Apparently, to make goals more achievable they have to be specific, measureable, written and you need to be accountable. That is what this entry is about for me. I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions. I’ll make some experience objectives that are important to me. I know it is just semantics, but it works for me. For a start date, the Chinese New Year is arbitrary enough and starts on February 10th. In the coming year I am going to (in no particular order of importance):
- Meet more celebrities. This is pretty easy since it only requires me to get to more genre conventions. I can’t call them “comic conventions” since there might be comics, but there will also be toys, science fiction and fantasy, written and filmed, games, etc. The really need a new name. The push: I will attend all the conventions put on at the Irving Conventions Center and at least one outside the DFW area.
- Sew more. I enjoyed the near mental breakdown of trying to assemble something that have vague instructions. My poor wife, being an introvert, assumes my cussing, fussing, grumbling and exasperation are signs I am not enjoying myself. You’d think after 14 years of marriage she’d know. This is too vague of course, so I will complete AT LEAST three of these:
- Revised Voyager jumper
- Star Trek: Next Generation uniform
- DS9/Nemesis uniform
- Star Trek Original Series uniform (all in science blue/green of course)
- Battlestar Galactica original viper pilot
- Battlestar Galactica recent bridge officer
- Old West Sherriff
- Ren Faire garb
- A contemporary suit
- A contemporary shirt
- The push: I know of at least two people who are photographers. I will complete a photo shoot in one of these outfits.
That is a pretty good list to get me started. If I achieved even half of that I think I could count it a success. I have a couple of other personal objectives but it’s not necessary to have all one’s cards shown. If you know me and you read this, hold me accountable. Ask how I’m doing on something.
How many of us have worked hard, REALLY hard, to get to some point, achieve some goal only to actually make it? We find ourselves at the end of the long road of single minded devotion faced with a very large open field that spans in all directions as far as the eye can see. There might be a lot of trails, but no defined roads. Mostly likely the road you were just on is gone, since there is no going back.
That is how I felt upon hearing my predecessor was finally retiring and I was given the accounting department. I have two people working for me and a lot of expectations to live up to. Until now, I was a task guy. Each day I had a stack of tasks to do and I’d get them done. I am very good at making things more efficient, making daily tasks quick and easy to finish. Now I am expected to take those tasks and delegate. At the moment, I can just teach the task and work out future procedures to pass on. However, at some point I will need to teach others to work out the problem. This is not something I have done a lot of, but it looks like my new challenge.
It seems like the old way of doing things was to learn a job and make yourself invaluable my making sure no one else could do your job. That way, no matter how incompetent you were, it would still trump other peoples’ ignorance. My philosophy is to see just how much I can get off my plate and into the hands of others. I think it would be very hard to teach my way out of a job, and I am still very good at problem solving, so the end result should be a group that just gets better. I suppose we’ll see what kind of teacher I am.
So, here I am in the middle of a wide open field. I think I’ll head left for a while and see where that goes.