February 5, 2019

Meaningful Metrics

In the absence of writing, I have recently been trying to increase the amount of reading and studying I have been doing in order to broaden my perspectives. And while there are numerous things I could be writing about, there is one particular thing I read today that stuck out to me: meaningful metrics.

For those who have known me for some time, you know that I nerd out about productivity tools and am constantly looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective. However, one of the things that has repeatedly eluded me was to feel like I was making consistent progress and/or growth. This led me to iterate on my system time and time again as I kept looking for that magical X factor.

My productivity systems so far...

As of this point, I used an array of tools in order to keep my system in order:

  1. Todo List App
  2. Calendar
  3. Note Taking App
  4. Financial Health App
  5. Bullet Journal

I won't go into the details at this time, but it was a rather complex system that worked quite well when the machine was oiled and maintained. In the off chance that something would interrupt my flow or the system, it typically resulted in a massive decrease in productivity since I would need to put in a fair amount of effort to get back on track.

So what's the plan...

I have tried a number of ways to track my productivity:

  • Number of tasks I completed
  • Trying to complete X projects by Y deadline
  • Manually update a weekly progress report to have something to show each week

However, none of these things ever measured up to what I needed in a system. And it wasn't until I was reading The Effective Engineer that I realized that my metrics were all wrong. Without proper metrics, it's no wonder that the feelings of ups and downs made my system incredibly fragile and susceptible to the slightest interruption.

So for now, I've established that I will need to find a path forward where I can track:

  • Estimated Time vs Actual Time statistics
    • How inaccurate are my estimates to the actual time taken to complete tasks
    • Are there trends regarding my estimation? Is it holistic? Or does it only impact certain types of tasks?
  • Ratio of Task Tags statistics
    • What is the breakdown as far as where my time is being spent
  • Establish meaningful units of work
    • While time is great, I know there is a missing puzzle as far as whether or not the work is meaningul and/or impactful on my life.

Still haven't figured out the logistics around these metrics, but it feels good knowing I'm starting to work towards the right path. See you on the other side!