Posts Tagged ‘Expectations’

For an example of a terrible slideshow-type online "article," check out this one on

For an example of a terrible slideshow-type online “article” check out this one on

Like many of you, I read constantly with most of that being online. I save numerous article links daily for later reading and then enjoy sitting back in the evening in my favorite recliner browsing what I’ve bookmarked. That’s how I learn the best and it’s always been a joy. However, far too many of those online articles lately – at least of the list variety – have taken an annoying turn to the point where I am likely to click away and forget about pursuing the content once I see the format.

I’m talking about online articles that are set up in a slideshow format that require you to click through to see each tiny little additional paragraph or photo, frequently burdening the reader with multiple clicks, scrolling and other annoyances over and over again to make it through the content which could have and should have all been put on a single page.

Here’s what should happen when I see a link to an article of interest:

  1. I click on the link to the article.
  2. The article appears in its entirety on one page.

Instead, for some warped reasons filled with a total lack of respect for the user’s experience, here is what I get far more often these days, especially if the article is something like “The Top 10…” or “Places To Go for…” or “Amazing Photos of…” etc.

  1. I click on the link to the article.
  2. A page takes forever to load due to ads or even videos in a sidebar loading and automatically playing (a whole separate practice worthy of 39 lashes).
  3. I have to scroll down to see some frame with a photo or text in it because junky banner ads fill the top of the screen.
  4. I have to scroll down more to find a “Next” button.
  5. I click the Next button.
  6. The button only adds caption info to the existing photo which I have to scroll back up to see.
  7. I scroll back down to the Next button again (or to track down some random unwanted sidebar video/audio playing to stop it).
  8. I click the Next button.
  9. Another page takes a long time to load.
  10. Repeat steps 3-9 for every single photo or text block in the so-called article.

Of course, like most Web users, I’ll abandon such nonsense long before I get to the end of the desired content. It just isn’t worth my time or growing frustration with each unnecessary click or requirement to scroll.

If you’d like an example of this wretched type of page in action, check out the article called “Dogs Who Have No Clue How Big They Are.” As a big dog lover, I couldn’t resist the link when it showed up in my Facebook feed. My takeaway from the pain of trying to get through all the photos was “Forget you, I will not follow links to your site any more.”

Granted, this is a first-world problem and it may sound incredibly petty to rant about having to click and scroll unnecessarily to view content on a Web page when most people on earth have far more serious things to ponder and deal with. But if you’re building content for online consumption, you must, must, must be cognizant of the user experience! It’s your job, for crying out loud. It’s what you do. You either need to do it well or not do it at all. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.

Just give me the content I am coming for in the most efficient, user-friendly manner possible. That’s it! Do that and I will appreciate you, enjoy your site, most likely come back to it and share its contents with others to enjoy. Don’t force me into your bad experience because you think it’s cool or the latest thing or you’re trying to show off your incredibly mediocre (if not horrid) design skills. Just give me the content and let me be on my way. The one exception – They know how to do it well and have been doing so for years. Them I trust – others, forget it.

Web page designers and content creators, know this: If you place obstacles between me and the content I’m coming for, I’m going to leave before consuming your content and I’m going to make a note not to trust your links to content in the future. (This also applies to forcing me to register to download a white paper because I know it just means you’re gong to spam me thereafter. It also includes splitting up a text-based article into numerous “pages” instead of putting it all on one page. If you’re afraid of how long your text-based article is, then write less.) Don’t fall victim to any craze in Web design without first and foremost considering the user experience.

Fellow readers and consumers of content, if you share my disdain for this type of content display which only wastes your valuable time, then let those responsible for such pages know how you feel. Demand a user-friendly, efficient experience and do not patronize those sites which disrespect you and your time so much as to force you into such a poor experience.

Happy New Year 2014I set a number of goals for 2013, most of which were achieved as reported in this end-of-year progress report. After careful consideration of what worked and what didn’t last year, and after determining some directions I’d like to go in 2014, I’ve settled on the following personal goals for this year, not including those for my work. Like last year, I’m categorizing them as related to body, mind and spirit, although there are a few that might cross over to multiple areas or not necessarily fit well into any of those categories.

One thing I learned in last year’s pursuits is that some goals can become such daily habits that you no longer really need to call them out as goals and bother with tracking them. A few that are like that for me now are keeping my weight at or below 145 pounds, reviewing weekly the 100 Bible memory verses that I chose several years ago to burn into my brain and heart, and writing handwritten letters to my sons twice a year. So even though I’ll still be doing those, they won’t be recorded and reported here. I want the public goals I share to involve pursuits that add a new challenge and interest.

After feeling like I tackled too much in 2013, I’m setting some goals this year that reflect a desire to have a little more down time and rest. To do so, that time has to come from somewhere, meaning I have to do less in some areas than I did in 2013. Here, then, are my personal, non-work-related goals for 2014.


  • Average at least 10,000 steps per day every week. I’ve averaged more than that since getting my Fitbit Flex in September, but 10,000 is an easy-to-remember goal and the threshold for earning maximum rewards from the HumanaVitality program offered through my company’s health insurance plan. That’s the equivalent of five miles per day, so that’s a healthy, reachable number that takes about an hour less per week than I’ve been doing the past four months.
  • Do a stretching routine daily. I have a nice set of stretching exercises that I do before and after runs that I’ve done for years, but I feel the need to do them daily for the value they bring, whether or not I’m running.
  • Run 365 miles for the year. I haven’t run regularly for a few years. I walk a lot and occasionally jog some while out with the dog, but I want to do better at running this year. I don’t care how these miles are spaced out throughout the year. I won’t try for one mile every day. Some weeks will yield more miles than others, and that’s OK. All of these steps are included in the 10,000/day in the goal above, and actually save time since I run about twice as fast as I walk.
  • Average 7.5 hours of sleep a night. My 2013 goal for sleep was six hours per night – more than previous years, but my body is telling me I need more. This will be very difficult for me to do because the time to do this has to come from elsewhere. Tracking it accurately with the Fitbit is easy, though, and I’m determined to work at it.
  • Average no more than 45 hours per week for work. I can’t remember the last year I worked less than 50-55 hours per week on the average, so this will be a serious challenge for me. I’ll have to be better at letting some things go and at training and delegating other colleagues and volunteers to make sure all still gets done. I’m placing this goal in the body category since consistently working too many hours takes more of a toll on my body and time available for other things than it does on mind or spirit due to how much I love my work.


  • Author or co-author a book related to enterprise social networks. It’s time I wrote a book. I would like to create an e-book related to my profession because I don’t think there is enough in print to help guide others whose roles are similar to mine. The weekly Twitter chat I lead on the subject – #ESNchat – is an incredible source of information and knowledgeable contacts, so by the time I’ve led that for nearly a year in September, 2014 I should have a wealth of information to write or collaborate with others to write a very helpful guide for those that manage enterprise social networks. I’ll probably just give it away online when written to get the info out there. I’m not planning on writing it for profit. Making a positive impact on the profession and perhaps getting some conference speaking engagements as a result will be adequate reward.
  • Write 100 blog posts. For 2012, I wrote a post a day – 366 of them. In 2013 that went to one every other day. For 2014, I’ll back that down once again to one every 3-4 days. Since I’ll be writing some substantive posts for other websites in 2014, those will take more time than I typically spend on posts for my own blog. To account for that added time, I’ll write fewer posts on my this blog, although I’ll post a notice and link here to posts I write elsewhere.
  • Set up Pinterest boards and pins to coincide with my blog categories and posts. I’ve wanted to do this for a long while, so I need to make it a public goal to hold me accountable for getting it done. With over 70 categories currently on this blog, the plan is to create one Pinterest board per category and then pin all relevant blog posts to each board. Once caught up with all posts going back to this blog’s beginning in 2011, pinning new blog posts will be a part of the publication process for each post in order to keep the Pinterest boards current. I’m thinking about devoting one of my vacation weeks in 2014 for this task.
  • Reserve at least one hour per day for unstructured, unplanned time not related to any tasks or goals. This may seem like an odd goal, but it’s tied to feeling like I didn’t allow myself enough down time last year. By making a goal of giving time to not working on some goals, I’m forcing myself to have more down time and enjoy some spur-of-the-moment activity. (Of course, not having structured time is actually working on this goal, but you get the point.) I’m putting this goal in the mind category since its purpose is to give me more mental breaks.


  • Finish reading The Apologetics Study Bible. I started reading it late in 2013, but still have 95% of its 2000+ pages to read in 2014. Each 1-2 years I pick a different version or study edition of the Bible to read through. This is the current one I’m working on which will be my first complete read of the version called the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).
  • Read these three major theology books: (1) Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem, (2) Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine by Gregg Allison, and (3) Theology of the Reformers by Timothy George. All together, these three books total 2,400 pages of material that along with The Apologetics Study Bible will be a fantastic theological and apologetic emphasis for the year.
  • Have a daily Bible reading and devotional time. I’ve been too hit and miss with when I do my Bible readings and prayer. I want to develop the consistent habit of doing so daily without fail.

Some of the goals above save me time compared to similar efforts in 2013, while other new goals will, of course, require time not dedicated for those things in 2013. Cutting back my work hours to something more reasonable will go a long way toward finding the extra hours needed, as will taking advantage of the many weeks of vacation time I have or will have accumulated by the end of 2014. I also suspect the TV will need to be turned off more frequently in my man cave.

I have a little apprehension about the above goals – a slight fear that cumulatively I’m not cutting back enough from 2013’s sense of overload. I will reserve the right to adjust the above goals if I find that they’re too ambitious. I’m determined to make sure I have the free time and added sleep needed, so other things will have to go if necessary. Until then, I’ll proceed with the above goals and will report back here quarterly (not monthly as I did last year) on my progress.

What about you? What are you going to tackle this year?

Progress ReportThe year is done. I’ve reported here monthly on my eleven goals for 2013 categorized in the areas of body, mind and spirit. Now it’s time to give you the final report.

Before looking at the details, though, I want to summarize my main lessons learned for the year. I blogged about them separately in the following posts:

While I will continue to be goal-oriented and publish each January 1st a new set of goals, the first of the lessons learned above is a biggie for me this year – rest. I just didn’t allow myself enough time for that this year and there were times when I was weary of having unending tasks before me. All of these goals are in addition to the 50+ hours of work per week I average, so I longed for more free time and less guilt about what was or wasn’t getting done from this list.

The lesson learned related to taking risks was tied to a major chance I took with a potential impact on my career and professional reputation – starting the weekly Twitter chat #ESNchat. Fortunately, that chance continues to pay off in a number of positive ways.

The third lesson related to health comes after a great stride forward in daily healthy behavior once I started wearing a Fitbit Flex in September. The daily tracking associated with that has truly been major in its significance for my daily healthy routines for activity, diet and sleep.

Some of the lessons learned will be reflected in the 2014 goals I share tomorrow, but others are incorporated into my daily life now in such a way that I don’t feel the need to set, track and report on specific goals related to them going forward.

Overall, 2013 was a very, very good year. I am blessed. I worked hard and accomplished most of what I set out to do, professionally and personally. How can I ask for more than that?

Now, on to the details of my 11 goals…

I first published my goals here on January 1, 2013. These public updates have helped hold me accountable. I color-code the goals with green if I am on or ahead of schedule, orange if I am slightly behind schedule, or red if I am dangerously behind schedule. Here is the final status on the goals.

Goals related to body:

1. Keep my weight at or below 150 pounds – COMPLETE. I’m glad to say I kept this all 365 days of the year, lowering the maximum weight to 145 later in the year and staying at or below that goal since then.

2. Walk/jog/run a total of 10,000 steps per day three days per week – COMPLETE. In terms of total number of days for the year, this was completed in early August. Since wearing my Fitbit Flex in September, I haven’t had any day below 10,000 steps.

3. Average at least six hours of sleep per night – COMPLETE. Since getting the Fitbit, I’ve been able to verify meeting this goal. Six hours doesn’t seem like a lot, but it was more than previous years.

Goals related to mind:

1. Read a book every other week. The two reading goals were the ones I was woefully short on achieving. I stopped with 12 books this year totaling a little over 4000 pages beyond the untold amount I read for work. That was a more reasonable total than the 26 book goal.

2. Blog every other day (at least) – COMPLETE. With this post, I complete the goal. I had to do some catching up in December, but I did it.

3. Continue to follow My 3 Words: Ground, Stretch, Reflect – COMPLETE. After doing this the past two years, this is pretty much a way of life for me now. If you don’t know what this refers to, read this post.

4. Double the blog’s readership from 10,000 views in 2012 to 20,000 – COMPLETE. This goal was passed in early October. With over 26,000 blog views this year, the visits increased by more than 160%. Many thanks to all of you readers for making this goal a reality.

5. Continue to write hand-written letters to my sons. I’m working on the final letter for the year to my boys now and will complete it in the next week or so. I’m a couple of weeks behind where I wanted to be, but I’ll complete it soon.

Goals related to spirit:

1. Finish reading the ESV Study Bible and read half of The Apologetics Study Bible. Since it took me until September to finish reading the ESV, I abandoned the goal of reading half of The Apologetics Study Bible also this year. I started reading it and will set a goal to finish all of it by the end of 2014.

2. Review 100 Bible memory verses weekly – COMPLETE. This has been happening for several years, so it is ingrained behavior by now.

3. Come to some resolution regarding an unsettled situation where I worship – COMPLETE.

As I said above, 2013 was a very good year in many ways. I didn’t accomplish all I set out to do, but I did a lot and I feel good about that. As a colleague reminded me several months ago, most people probably don’t even bother to identify goals and track progress for things outside of work, so attempting several in an organized, public manner is out of the ordinary. I’ll be grateful for what was accomplished and won’t beat myself up for what didn’t get done. What I learned about my limits will be reflected in the goals for 2014 that I share on New Year’s Day.

Thanks to many of you for encouraging me in my pursuits this year and for sharing the experience with me. Your presence and words of encouragement make a real difference. I can’t thank you enough for taking the journey with me.

What about you? How did things turn out with your goals for 2013?

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We’ve seen this past week the impact of what happens when expectations are not met for something to happen quickly. In the rush of last-minute buying and shipping of Christmas presents, untold numbers of packages went undelivered by the “guaranteed” delivery dates. As a result, people either had to do without presents on the intended day, or they had to rush out and buy something else. I saw on the news one lady who was upset that her shipment of live lobsters didn’t arrive in time for the family get-together and meal (definitely a first-world problem – poor, poor lady). I’m sure starving children around the world will weep for her inconvenience.

Fingers are pointing everywhere in the aftermath. Retailers are blaming shippers. Shippers are blaming last-minute shoppers, fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, and capacity that was simply overwhelmed. Consumers are blaming retailers and shippers. I don’t think I’ve seen people or organizations yet raise their own hands and take responsibility.

In the case of Christmas shopping, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for last-minute shoppers, although a guarantee is a guarantee and the buyer should be able to trust those guarantees to be honored. Hopefully there is a lesson learned: shop earlier next year. It’s not like December 25 is going to pop up out of nowhere on you regardless of when Thanksgiving comes. Get it done earlier and quit your whining.

But the expectation of immediacy isn’t limited, of course, to shipping presents (in spite of the interest in Amazon immediately shipping things by drone beginning in a couple of years). We expect pretty much everything when we want it.

  • We expect news and immediate details of unfolding events, and news organizations feel obligated to be the first to report, even when they don’t know the facts, making their so-called news mere speculation.
  • We expect to get in touch with whomever we want whenever and wherever we please regardless of the intrusion that causes for the receiver or rudeness displayed by the receiver in taking such messages in other settings.
  • If we have a customer service issue, we expect a call, tweet, or other social media post to yield immediate resolutions as if we are the only customer for that Fortune 100 company that actually has millions of other customers.
  • If we see an ad for something we like, we expect to go online on our portable device and get it right now.
  • We want fast food, fast transportation, fast profits, fast credit, fast weight loss, fast beauty, fast ownership, fast training, fast relief, fast satisfaction, and relationships that are perfect quickly – none of this waiting or working for decades like our parents had to do for the same results.

I certainly have nothing against some things happening quickly. It’s convenient. It meets a need and then we move on to whatever is next. But something is amiss when the big story of the week is a package ordered on Monday not being delivered by Tuesday to a home on the other side of the country. Something is out of whack when the social media channels of businesses are clogged with complaints from people who tried to do something at the last minute and then expect the staff levels and processes of established businesses to wildly fluctuate to accommodate their tardiness.

Is our culture of immediacy a symptom of a growing self-centeredness in society? Is it a consequence of enabling technology that has slowly morphed our expectations? Is it both? Is it something else? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, it isn’t always healthy or reasonable to expect whatever we want now.

There is value in learning patience. There is value in contentedness. There is value in planning ahead to avoid the need for so much to happen at the last minute. There is value in leaving room in our schedules for the unexpected. There is value is wanting less.

We are blessed as a society with many advantages, conveniences and opportunities, but I think we have a lot of room for personal growth and maturity. Less dependence on immediacy will be one indicator of that maturity.

Progress ReportOnly one more month of the year to go! This is my next-to-last monthly update on my annual goals that I first published here on January 1 – eleven goals divided into the categories of body, mind and spirit. I share updates monthly as a public way to hold myself accountable. I color-code the goals with green if I am on or ahead of schedule, orange if I am slightly behind schedule, or red if I am dangerously behind schedule.

By mid-November it was evident which goals could be met by year’s end and which would not be. Overall, I’m satisfied with how much I’ve done. I’ve also learned a lot about goal setting that will impact what I plan for 2014, especially considering that these are all goals accomplished in addition to working 50+ hours per week at my job.

So here is where I stand with a few weeks of 2013 remaining.

Goals related to body:

1. Keep my weight at or below 150 pounds. This has been no issue, especially since I lowered the original goal to 145 and maintain that daily. I entered Thanksgiving Day a couple of pounds under so I could enjoy all the normal foods with family that day and not go over the goal. I’ll keep 145 as my goal going forward – no need to lose more.

2. Walk/jog/run a total of 10,000 steps per day three days per week – COMPLETE. In terms of total number of days for the year, this was completed in early August. Since wearing my Fitbit Flex in September, I haven’t had any day below 10,000 steps. In addition, I’ve made sure not to have any 7-day period with less than 80,000 steps total, so my average is a little over 11,000/day now.

3. Average at least six hours of sleep per night. I love tracking this with my Fitbit. I’ve not had a week averaging less than six hours per night since getting the device. It isn’t enough, though, so I’ll increase this goal for 2014.

Goals related to mind:

1. Read a book every other week. I gave up on trying to reach this goal recently, capping my book reading at 12 this year. The original goal was just too much given all my other goals and work schedule, so I’ll be more reasonable next year in this regard.

2. Blog every other day (at least). I should reach this goal by the end of the year, but being eight posts behind, I will have to blog more days than not this month to reach it.

3. Continue to follow My 3 Words: Ground, Stretch, Reflect. All is well here. If you don’t know what this refers to, read this post.

4. Double the blog’s readership from 10,000 views in 2012 to 20,000 – COMPLETE. This goal was passed in early October. It looks like we’ll finish the year with about 25,000 views, thanks to you, dear readers.

5. Continue to write hand-written letters to my sons. It’s time to figure out the subject of my next letter and plan on getting them to my boys by Christmas.

Goals related to spirit:

1. Finish reading the ESV Study Bible and read half of The Apologetics Study Bible. Having completed the ESV in September, I’m still in the early books in The Apologetics Study Bible. I won’t complete half of it by year end, but I’m fine with that. I’ll set a goal to finish all of it by the end of 2014.

2. Review 100 Bible memory verses weekly. I’m on track with this.

3. Come to some resolution regarding an unsettled situation where I worship – COMPLETE.

I’m eager to set my goals for 2014. I’ll post them here on January 1. They will not be as time-consuming overall as this year’s goals. I need to bake into my schedule next year more free time and more sleep time, so that will require less in the way of goals outside of work.

With only a few weeks left in 2013, that’s where I stand on my goals. What about you? How are you doing on your goals for the year? Are you thinking about goals you’ll want to set for 2014?