What we measure, we improve.
Someone on the Internet said that (I believe it’s Peter Drucker).
Whether you are training for a marathon or managing your own personal finances, I believe it’s critical that you track and measure the relevant metrics. It is only through the tracking of data that we have any idea if we’re getting better or worse.
At the start of every month, I update my personal net worth spreadsheet along with all my side hustle metrics. This includes revenue, expenses, blog traffic, and FX trades. I personally track my data through Excel and Notion. Who would have thought? 🤪
Here are some of the benefits that I have found through tracking various metrics.
4 Benefits Of Tracking Monthly Metrics
Tracking Brings About Awareness
My monthly update provides a great opportunity for self-reflection. I can take a helicopter view of whether or not I’m progressing toward my various goals.
As you continue to track and accumulate data and numbers, you will begin to recognize patterns and spot problems earlier. Spent too much on food delivery last month? You can dial in back this month. Is blog traffic trending downward? Analyze the data and problem-solve the cause.
In other words, you can spot and fix problems while they are still easily manageable.
As the saying goes:
For every 1 degree a plane veers off its course, it misses its target destination by 1 mile for every 60 miles you fly.
Throughout your life journey, there will be times when you need to reorient yourself and get back on track.
Forming New Habits And Zooming Out
There is a lot of literature on how to form new habits. Like starting small or finding a daily non-negotiable time to do said activity. I agree with all these and they do help to put structure in place so you keep at the new habit.
However, I have found that daily tracking in isolation does not help. There’s not much you can extract from logging a run or daily writing habit. I find that it takes about a solid month before you can truly dig into the real trends in your habits.
If you do track activities on a daily basis (and I do this too) try to automate the capture and ignore the results. Try to only pay attention once you have sufficient data. Otherwise, it’ll just cause you anxiety and stress!
It Doesn’t Have To Take Long
After the initial setup, measuring and tracking on a monthly basis shouldn’t take that long.
At the start of the month, I sit down and fill out my net worth spreadsheet to track all the essential investment metrics. Cash accounts, stocks, pensions, cryptos, and so on. I have the process down pat pretty well by now, so I can get it all done within 30 minutes.
During that time, I get very clear feedback on our financial situation. And, if the numbers are moving in the wrong way, we make adjustments the following month.
Finding Achievement In The Process
I know that I won’t always set a new personal best or feel like I made progress on the side hustles. Like you, I beat myself up over this – however, once I see what I did achieve that month, I’m usually quite surprised!
What matters and what you can count as a win is if you just show up. The trick is realizing that tracking is not about the results. It’s about the habits you’re forming to create the life you want. Like the 76ers’ motto – Trust The Process.
Is Tracking Worth It?
We all have areas in our life that we say are important. I’m sure you’ve set goals in health, finances, or as simple as a reading habit. But we aren’t measuring it and the wheels just fall off after the initial burst of motivation.
Our lives are shaped by how we choose to spend our time and energy every day. By measuring how we focus our time and effort, we can make adjustments along the way to keep things moving in the right direction.
Still not convinced? Here is a paper on pedometers helping to increase physical activity and improving health. Researchers found that by tracking and using pedometers, users increased their physical activity by a whopping 26.9%.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a simple Excel spreadsheet. Looking to track your productivity? You can get the Free Notion Timesheet To Track Productivity from yours truly. 😁
What are you measuring in your life? Thanks for reading!