Tuesday, March 20, 2007

43 Things: Good idea, but some frustrating aspects

I just spent some time fiddling around with 43 Things, a website where people list, share, and track progress toward their goals. My original idea was to post my life goals there (!), but after playing with it for a while, I realized that there are two ways people seem to use it, which don't necessarily mesh together all that well:
  1. Create a to-do list where you state exactly what your goals are, in your own words. Or,
  2. Search for a goal that is somewhat similar to yours, add it to your list, and thereby connect with a community of other 43 Things users who are attempting to achieve that goal (or have already done so).

There is power in choosing the language you use to express your goals to yourself and to others (#1), but there is also power in numbers and in having a support network of people who want to achieve the same thing (#2). I couldn't find a good way on 43 Things to marry the two, and I don't think tagging is adequate for this purpose, either. Right now, #2 is a higher priority for me, so I'll use 43 Things only for the goals of mine that have a critical mass in the website's user population. The master list of life goals will just have to be committed to paper for now, unless I find some other inspiring online medium for posting it.

I also observed that some goals on 43 Things are short-term to-do list types of items, while others are longer-term overarching kinds of goals. It would be nice if they had a way to group together smaller tasks under a larger overall goal. Hey, maybe they need a whole project planning interface, complete with Gantt charts, milestones, and Excel spreadsheets...oh, wait a second, that's why I left the corporate world, to take a break from that kind of stuff :-)

News on a related front: I bumped up some items on my To Do list at right that I'm starting to work on.

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