Is It Time to Start Measuring or Tracking within Your Career and Life?

JT - A system is not the sum of its parts, but rather the product of the interaction of the parts

Change can be challenging (or maybe it is just me?). One thing I am doing more and more over time is measuring and tracking the changes I am making in my personal life, not just in my business / career. Subsequently, today I wanted to share –

  • What is Measuring and Tracking?
  • Why Measure and Track within Your Career and Life?
  • What Can You Measure and Track in Your Career and Life?
  • Is It Time to Start Measuring or Tracking within Your Career and Life?

Let’s get started…

What is Measuring and Tracking?

Before I go in to more details about measuring and tracking, I am going to discuss what it actually is. If you choose to, you can measure and track data and information within your career and life. There is some crossover here in relation to definitions, so I have included both, so you can decide for yourself –

  • Data – “a fact given or granted” and “transmittable and storable information by which computer operations are performed” ~ Etymonline
  • Information – “act of informing, communication of news” and “knowledge communicated concerning a particular topic” ~ Etymonline
  • Data – “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Information – “knowledge that you get about someone or somethingfacts or details about a subject” ~ Merriam-Webster
  • Data – “information, especially facts or numbers, collected to be examined and considered and used to help decision-making, or information in an electronic form that can be stored and used by a computer” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • Information – “facts about a situation, person, event, etc” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • Data – “Facts that can be analyzed or used in an effort to gain knowledge or make decisions” ~ Free Dictionary
  • Information – Knowledge or facts learned, especially about a certain subject or event” ~ Free Dictionary

Do you have other definitions or insights in relation to the meanings data and information? If so, feel free to share them below!

Why Measure and Track within Your Career and Life?

Yes this may be obvious, however for clarity I am going to say it. If we do not measure and track information and data in relation to our feelings, actions and behaviours, how do we know if we are on the right path or master life?

“People without information cannot act. People with information, cannot help but act.” ~ Ken Blanchard. 

Measuring and tracking helps to –

  • make better decisions and take action,
  • guide changes and continuous improvement,
  • promote accountability and take responsibility for choices and decisions,
  • measure success and effectiveness (what ever that means for us),
  • look at current processes and systems meet your needs and make adjustments if required,
  • understand the causes of challenges within your career and/or life (if you have them),
  • know how well changes are going in relation to your plans, and
  • identify gaps between the results you are getting and where you want to and/or who you want to be.

As Victoria Bernhardt (2004) indicated –

“It takes strong leadership to inspire a shared vision and to ensure its implementation. It also takes a strong leader to ensure the analysis and use of data.” (p.5).

Even though the above statement is written in relation to schools, I see that it also relates to the individuals that work within schools and the greater community as well as in our wholistic lives.

What Can You Measure and Track in Your Career and Life?

There are many things you can measure in your career and life, however like most things it goes back to the intention or why behind tracking. Why do you want to track? Once you know the why, you can then decide the what you are going to track and then the how. You can measure and track –

  • Systems and processes (i.e. for tax preparation, planning processes) ,
  • Progression towards developing a habit (i.e. aiming for 8 hours of sleep per night, moving your body 5 times per week, stopping to check-in with how you are feeling before you reach for that extra piece of chocolate cake),
  • Results you are experiencing (i.e. running that half marathon or how long it take to find an important document),
  • Changes in beliefs and perceptions (i.e. how you are currently feeling about your life and how much control you feel you have of it),
  • Demographics (i.e. age, gender),
  • (Un)Learning and / or wisdom you are living (i.e. doing the things you know support your overall focus and wholistic life).

Is It Time to Start Measuring or Tracking within Your Career and Life?

Do you see the benefits of measuring and tracking for your life? If so, let’s get to the fun part and share some ways to measure and track. Following are how some of my clients are measuring and tracking within their career and life, including –

  • Money – for example: tracking income and expenses, looking at credit card statements to see how much they eat out.
  • Health – for example: tracking the number of hours of sleep they have, the food they eat or the number of steps taken across the week.
  • Time – for example: their calendar shows where they invest their time and energy each week and/or month.
  • Feelings / emotions – for example: using a feelings / emotions tracker to identify different patterns that are occurring so they can start to untangle from them if they choose to.

Until it is a habit, tracking and measuring can be challenging. However, I have found doing it really useful for feedback. One thing I encourage though is to be really clear about why you are tracking (i.e the purpose and meaning), not just track for the sake of it. This relates back to Goodhart’s Law

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure” (Strathern, 1997). 

And this is where we can bring it back to the SMART acronym. The SMART acronym for goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based). As you can see the M is measurable.

Over to You…

Do you see the benefits of measuring and tracking for your life? If so, what is one way you can start today? Feel free to share your insights or questions below. Personally I will continue to measure and track as it really helps me see how my whole life ebbs and flows –

“A system is not the sum of its parts, but rather, the product of the interaction of the parts.” ~ Russell Ackoff

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

References –

Bernhardt, V. L., (2004). Continuous improvement: It takes more than test scores. ACSA Leadership. November/December 2004, 16-19.

Strathern, Marilyn (1997). “‘Improving ratings’: audit in the British University system”European Review. John Wiley & Sons. 5 (3): 305–321. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1234-981X(199707)5:3<305::AID-EURO184>3.0.CO;2-4.

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