Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year's Goals

With the new year it's a good time to think about eating right and exercising more often. 

It is also a good time to look at your professional goals. I am thinking a little about the CAD calendar. 

AU is over, but there is a lot of online material that if I want to get through it, I should get on it quick. 

New version's of Autodesk products traditionally come out in the first quarter of the year. This means if I have any left over to do's on the old version, it needs to be cleaned up quick too.

I also need to review any stats I have been collecting and set goals for 2011. I track a lot of plotter information. Downtime, cost per plot, paper costs, maintenance cost. I use this information to know if things are costing more or less year to year. If you have never tracked information, I encourage you to do so. The first step to making a good plan for growth is have a solid idea of where you really stand. The following year you can use the collected data to make reasonable goals. Most importantly, you can quantify your success with more than. "Things are better... because it feels better".

Another valuable stat is Drafting time per sheet. Depending on your accounting, you might be able to quantify the CAD used on the job and divide it by the number of sheets produced. If you know the billing rate on the job, it then becomes easy to calculate the cost per sheet. Would it be helpful to know if the cost or time per sheet was increasing or decreasing? I think so.

This is also a good time to honestly evaluate your own skills and make a real plan for how to fill in the gaps. 

Budgeting your time is exactly like budgeting your money and it is just as valuable. If you go through the year reacting to the things that happen, you will have a much more difficult time progressing in your career as opposed to a person that set goals based off reliable information, and executes a plan to achieve them.

Lastly give some honest thought to succession planning. If you want to move up out of your current position, having someone to succeed you will remove a barrier to promotion. While you are thinking about yourself, also pause to predict the succession of those above you. Those are opportunities for you if you recognize them.

Happy New Year, now get to work!
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