Examining your productivity

I'm planning a series on using data analysis at work - you'll see it unfolding over the next month or so. That series will be about using data to measure outcomes. But to help you get used to the idea, here's a link to a brief Harvard Business Review Blog Network entry, "Ironman Competitors Measure Their Performance (And So Should You). In it H. James Wilson argues that three simple strategies used by elite athletes can also help regular office workers.

What are they?
* Try what works for you - moderation may be good for some, while measuring everything works for others. (Until it's time to start measuring the measurements, of course.)
* Measure a set period of time, such as 1-2 weeks. As Wilson says, think "in terms of quick tests rather than a[n] open-ended process." That way you can use your first test as a baseline, then test the different organizational or other changes you make.
* Use the data to figure out what's limiting your performance. Spending too much time with email? Facebook? When you have the data you can change how you operate.

I'm a little hesitant about self-quantifying one's entire life (the unquantified life is definitely worth living!) but I will definitely use some of this software to develop feedback about my productivity. Perhaps I'll even report on my progress.

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