Many of us use metrics at work. When done correctly they can concisely communicate the health of whatever it is we’re trying to improve.
I’ve been working on a system at work that captures the overall health of our organization in a clear, visual fashion. It occurred to me the other day that I should do the same for my personal life.
What would those metrics be?
At work, key metrics include things like sale conversions, employee happiness, profit margin, etc., and they depend heavily on the type of business you do.
So what about my personal life? Here’s a first attempt:
[ NOTE: Not in any particular order. ]
For each metric you do the following steps:
Determine your metrics (above)
Ask the 2-3 most important questions that matter for that item
Determine how to measure those 2-3 things
Determine how to visualize each metric
Determine how/where/how often to collect the data
Build the interface
Check it regularly and use it as a guide
The first part of the interface will be an overview screen with something like a heatmap or a grading system. You see a grid that shows that you’ve not contacted your family to tell them you love them, so you get a D in that.
You see that you’ve not written anything in four months, or you’ve only read two books this year, then you get bad grades there as well.
So maybe the metrics tell you that you have an A in work, and below a C in everything else, including health.
Time to make some changes.
The power of this type of system is that it gives a panned-out view. An overall perspective on what matters to you and how you’re doing in those areas. The danger of using more granular systems, or no system at all, is that whatever you’re doing at any given moment seems the most important at the time.
Do this exercise: Write down the most important metrics in your life, and rate how you’re doing in them.
Make changes accordingly.
The overview heatmap is my friend Andrew’s idea.