"What gets measured accurately improves." I heard this simple phrase several years ago from my good friend Roger Seip, author of Train Your Brain for Success and have shared it many times to my clients, friends and anyone who would hear it. The message I get from this is that in order to see marked improvements in any area of your life you must be willing to track your progress. The way I see it, there are really three steps to this: 1) Determine Your Focus - In order to see improvements you must first determine what you'd like to improve. As obvious as this sounds, this is where most people get hung up. What do you want to accomplish? How would you like to see the end result look? Once you know this you can then confidently move forward with the next step.
2) Establish a Baseline - In other words, to truly know how far you have come, it is important to determine where you began.
When I teach workshops in Memory Training or Smart Reading it is very helpful for my clients to determine their baseline. By doing so, it allows them a quantifiable starting point to chart their improvements (and they do see improvements).
3) Chart Your Progress - For those who are consistently at the top of their field, they have a system of tracking and keeping current on their progress.
Many months ago I decided to take this idea and really run with it. I had found myself hitting a plateau and feeling really stagnant. It seemed to me like I was making no progress towards some of the big goals in my life. This realization turned out to be the beginning of my monthly challenges, starting with 30 Day Experiment: No Facebook, in an attempt to chart my overall productivity and ability to get more accomplished. In Roger Seip's book he discusses the concept of picking your "Daily Big 6" activities that you want to accomplish each day in pursuit of your goals. (The above image is an example of my Big 6 - I only chose 5 for that day) I have found it to be abundantly helpful.
In addition to the effectiveness of the Daily Big Six I also wanted to create a system of tracking a larger amount of activities and keep them accurately organized. That is when I decided that I would commit to 6-10 Experiments (most focusing on health) in hopes of moving quicker and closer to my fitness and health goals. The following chart (on the right) is a monthly breakdown of my goals for my 30 Day Experiments. Each day I make it a point to chart whether or not I actually accomplished my tasks and because of this, at the end of my 30 days, I have concrete evidence in front of me. This also lets me know if I will be needing to try the experiment again because I did not hit my numbers or, once accomplishing it, I can then write about it. Some of my experiments have taken several months of continued trial and error and others were accomplished on the first time around. Some of these experiments I have stopped doing after completing a round of 30 and others I have continued to add to my daily to-dos because I found it very beneficial.
Since adding my committed daily checklist I can honestly say that I have accomplished more (not only for my health but business and relationships) in the last many months than in all of 2012! I highly encourage you to take the time and effort to 1) Determine Your Focus, (What do you want to accomplish?) 2) Establish a Baseline (Find your starting point) and then 3) Chart Your Progress(Use whatever tracking method works best for you)..... You'll be glad you did. I know I am.
Lesson: Accomplish more in less time by creating a daily system to chart your progress.