Establishing Professional Goals

Happy New Year 2013With the dawning of a new year I see so many people talking about their resolutions and goals for 2013. Annual goal setting is not really something I've dedicated much time to in the past. Instead, I always seemed to follow a rolling, unwritten list of goals that are separate from the ones I have at work. But this year I felt more compelled to put down in writing a set of professional goals for the year and relate them to a mission statement. Here's why I finally took this step:

  1. Helps me stay organized -over the last month or so I made a few commitments to participate in certain events or activities so this helps me organize my timeline. 
  2. Helps me stay focused and track my progress – last year I created some goals for my work in MOSES and have found it to be a great help in guiding and assessing my progress there. We also create goals at work to ensure what we do each day helps support the overall goals and strategy set by the city council. So I figured it might be a good idea to extend this approach to other areas of my life.
  3. Helps me justify what I spend time on – the practice of establishing goals and tying them to an overall professional mission helps ensure the things I choose to spend time on outside of work will help me be successful in what I actually want to achieve.

Here are the general goals. They are in addition to the goals I have at work. I have not included in this post the specific tasks I established for each. Perhaps that is something I will do at the end of the year when I assess the progress I made.

Annual Professional Goals for 2013

Mission: Promote and empower others in the use of online technologies within the public works and government industries and provide information and services to the public for the purpose of advancing the understanding of community, government, and public works.

Goal 1
Advance the understanding and use of online communication in the public works industry

Goal 2
Participate in industry organizations to advance understanding of public works and education within the public works profession

Goal 3
Develop and deliver industry education online and in-person

Goal 4
Participate in and provide value to virtual world communities such as MOSES, Second Life, and OpenSim

Of course, I also have personal goals related to family and my research in genealogy. But for those, I still don't see a need to set them down in writing. And I wonder how easy it would be to set specific tasks since family and genealogy can be so unpredictable and somewhat out of my control. I am going to see how the year goes using this set of professional goals, and depending how it works out, maybe next year I can at least consider trying it out in those other areas of my life.

If any of you create professional or personal goals, I would be interested in hearing how you establish, document, and track them.