Tracking behaviors, patterns, and habits is something that has helped me a lot in figuring out how to improve my day-to-day activities.
Let me explain…
It seems overly grandiose at first, but as I wrote about in my post on the “Science of Productivity,” we often overestimate just how much we’ve ‘done’ in any individual activity (like how much actual work we finished during our work day).
With tracking, there’s just the objective data to look at, so there’s no lying to yourself and no bias.
What If You Tracked These Behaviors?
Food for thought: what if you tracked these behaviors over the course of an average month?
Would you be happy with the results if you could see your hours spent on paper, with no bias to cloud your judgement?
- How much money you spent
- How long you spent talking with loved ones
- How much time you spent working on your “passion”
- How far you walked each day
- How much you time you read OFF the computer
- How much time you spent on ‘administrative’ work (bills, etc)
- How many calories you ate per day
- How much time you actually worked at work
- How much time you spent watching TV
- How many of your short-term goals you accomplished
How This All Started
This whole thought process started when I began truly thinking about the Pareto principle, instead of just breezing by it like, “Yeah, that’s probably a good idea…”
I noticed that while working at my SaaS startup, I became so focused on what our competitors were doing, I was missing out on really drilling down on that 20% of effort that achieves 80% of the results.
And then I thought… has this sort of thinking permeated other parts of my life?
Am I really spending my time focusing on the things that get ‘80% of the results?’
When we talk about “results” in this context, it’s quite different from business goals, but the focus on doing what matters remains the same—putting relentless effort in The Daily Decrease so that we can systematically stop doing the things that aren’t really to our benefit.
Things like mindlessly watching TV when we don’t really want to watch TV (I’m not one of those people that villainizes TV, it’s just the de facto example).
Things like putting off work, getting that uncomfortable “I still have this task hanging over my head” feeling, and sabotaging our own progress by doing stuff we only tolerate instead of the stuff we love.
Anyway, I’ll be tracking some of my daily behaviors, how about you? :)