Lessons from a Metricated Life

This year I planned to run a test of a measured life. With great enthusiasm I started journaling on 1 January using a bullet journal approach that others had recommended. Each month I created a table to record some key actions and events that i wanted to follow. My goal was to understand whether measurement would influence my habits or at least deliver insights.

The measurement lasted until Mid March when the pressures of work overwhelmed my meticulous recording. We are heading to late April and I haven’t rushed to restart so it is worth a pause to reassess.

Here is what I learned from the process:

  • Metrics are useful insights into less considered behaviours. There were items I tracked that I rarely consider such as how much water I drink. Having better visibility of these was useful and constructive in driving change
  • Easy habits were well reinforced by measurement. Going for a walk more often, catching up with friends and so on we’re more consistently practised under the pressure of ticking a daily or weekly box.
  • Things i usually deprioritise when pressure is on weee more frequent when i was recording them. I had one more conscious rationale to hold the line.
  • After an initial spike of enthusiasm, hard tasks like going to the gym more often, writing more often did not change in frequency.
  • A double page spread of daily measures was overkill. I would have been better tracking fewer metrics and stuck at them longer.
  • As I measured my daily mood, it was helpful to understand some simple correlations I can use. For example, days were better when i listened to music. This is correlation only (because it often related to other factors like spare time and how I travelled), but it is useful to note.
The Matrix

In summary, journaling metrics was useful to prompt mindfulness and better behaviour on low effort habits. I need a more systematic and purposeful approach to move the dial on more transformative changes. Overall the process was one I would try again for more learnings but I am unlikely to be a permanent convert.

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