A Dilemma of Ambitious & Analytical People: To Track and Measure Everything or Not To

Somethings are worth tracking and measuring, others are not. Learnings on when to do one or the other.

June 24, 2018 - 2 minute read -

man thinking on a bench outside

Therefore the master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything … When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever - Tao Te Ching

If you’re like me (an INTJ, an analytically inclined person), you love measuring, tracking performance and analyzing how things come to be. It’s taken me time and countless iterations, however, I’ve internalized that sometimes you don’t need to track or measure every detail. What can start off as a well-intentioned process to measure your performance or progress around a certain habit, can unbeknownst to you, become a barrier toward your action.

Realizations About Habit Tracking

  • A simple yes/no check is enough. Adding anything else, is a bad return on my investment.
  • What works for me is tracking habits on paper.
  • Be wise enough to know what is a habit, what is worth tracking and what belongs in another tool, like a task manager.
  • Stick with a simple list of habits (notice these examples are within your control & usually not influenced by outside events):
    • Drinking water 3 times per day.
    • Exercise streaks
    • Going to sleep early
    • Waking up early
    • Writing in my journal
    • Days you’ve gone without doing a habit (smoking, drinking, binge eating, swearing)
  • Things not to put in your habit tracking list:
    • Projects and work items (use a task manager instead)
    • Things that change often and are usually affected by things outside your control

How do you track your habits? Do you prefer paper or tracking on a smart device? Are all the habits your tracking manageable, attainable and within your control to finish? Have you identified what is working and what isn’t?

Like all great things in life, it takes time and persistance to find what works for you. The only guarantee in life is that change is inevitable. Be open to adapting anything and everything. Rarely does anyone get anything right on their first try. Take comfort in the fact that your in the same position that every amazing individual has been in before.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. - Michael Jordan