You can’t change what you don’t measure – while this may not always hold true for some people, it does shed light on your progress and does lead to increased levels of performance.
The goal here, is to measure the key variables that you are looking to grow. Then track those key variables throughout the year. So when the end of each month comes, you can visualize those key variables in graphs. I’ll show some examples of these below.
Your monthly report may be completely different than mine. And that’s great. It’s all about finding different areas of your life that you want to improve, and then finding the key metrics that lead to progress in those areas.
Here are some examples of what I measure:
1. My Personal Time: Every day, I measure each 30 minute block of time and categorize it into 8 different areas, then I show this data as a pie chart each month. This topic is discussed at length in this post on the importance of time. But in short, I measure my time, because I find it the single most important variable of success.
2. My Personal Finances: I consider two main areas in my finances important to measure: The Personal Income Statement (i.e. budgets, expenses and income) and the Personal Balance Sheet (assets, liabilities and networth). I’ll plan to write a post more in depth about this system on a later date, but for now, I basically record all my expenses and income automatically through my system and review it each month during my personal budget review. I also do a second financial meeting on my personal balance sheet and networth. Together, I use key metrics in this data to monitor my personal financial health. Some of these key metrics I add to my personal report card each month.
3. My Personal Habits: I usually have about 10 +/- key habits that I try to perform at a regular basis. These range from daily meditation, exercise, writing, waking up early, etc. I add all of these habits together to form what I call, The Habit Index (or HI for short). This key metric shows how well I am performing my habits each week. Some weeks are better than others, but I try to steadily maintain around my goal percentage, or about 80% HI each week.
4. My Personal Education: I usually set a target amount of books to read. I discussed this topic more on my post about how to read 60 books each year. Each book I read, I’ll write down into a spreadsheet (with some other data the page count and audio time) and then add these metrics to my personal monthly report. That way I can visually all the learning I am doing each month and make sure I am sticking to that habit.
5. My Personal Adventures: This was always something I lacked being accountable for. Typically my default state is to work, so if I don’t set aside time for having fun, it usually does not happen. Going into the new year, I’ll outline a handful of Fun goals and Travel goals and record them into a dashboard. I try and make these goals things that I really want to do. Such as going zip-lining, jet skiing, hiking four mountains or whatever you actually like doing. Then I hold myself accountable for it. Each month I review the percentage of fun and travel activities I’ve accomplished compared to the percentage of where I am in the year (Example: June would be 50%). That way I can see if I need to increase my effort in this area or decrease it in order to hit my target goals.
6. My Personal Carbon Footprint: As many of you know, I find my environmental footprint an important area to follow in my life. I firmly believe that each of us should be the change that they wish to see the world, and going to 100% carbon freedom is no different. I track, on a monthly basis, my carbon emissions to see how my actions are affecting them and to hold myself accountable for my reduction targets.
Here’s my Monthly Report for the previous month:
The monthly report card does much more that just visualize the key metrics of my life. It helps me grow for the upcoming month, so that I can constantly move closer towards my goals.
If I notice that I am going the opposite direction towards my goal in a specific area of my life, I’ll plan to focus more of my energy on it that following month.
I can also use the monthly report card as a way to reward myself for positive progress. Such as rewarding successful milestones with a new watch or something as simple as a guilt free trip to Starbucks.
The possibilities are endless of course, and the data you’ll gather will definitely enlighten your journey towards a higher performance life. You totally got this!
Bill Womeldorf is an energy efficiency consultant and real estate entrepreneur in Boston, MA. He’s typically the one with the reusable water bottle in business meetings. When we all work together, he believes, it’s possible to solve the climate crisis. You can follow Bill on twitter @BillWomeldorf and read more about self-improvement and sustainability on his blog.