What You Can Measure

Hey guys, it’s been a minute. We will talk about where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to later but for now let’s talk about what you can measure.

When you hear the word measure what comes into your mind, a tape or meter rule or probably a table or wall, then pencils for marking. You might be installing a new TV or trying to make a bed cover so you measure. When you look at it from a management point when you hear measure what comes to our mind is control.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”

Peter Drucker

Now measurements go beyond meters and centimeters depending on what you’re measuring. It could be weight, pages per day or even screen time amount of feedback.

We all talk about things we want to do and we attempt doing them but we don’t know if there are changes. The truth is that 100% of the time we have changes but they are so little you can’t notice them. Measurements are underrated when it comes to life, I think majorly because we try to track the wrong things. Which introduces the  question, What do we measure?

In Lean six sigma, you’re being told about critical to quality characteristics, trying to determine important factors from the Voice of your customer. This can be applied mostly in manufacturing and business but we are going to tailor it our lives. Ranging from expenses to weight, everything in our lives can be measured & tracked appropriately. It could be how much time you spend on your phone or Netflix. How long you can focus on doing an activity without getting distracted. I used to be able to read for only 15 minutes with maximum focus and when I knew the exact time, I knew I had a problem so it took me like two hours to read and understand two pages of a book.

Why do you measure? That’s the big question, collecting data from parts of your life or business helps you identify patterns you didn’t know you had. You could want to grow a business, loose weight or even stop a bad habit, taking measurements and tracking them is a very important step. The major reason is to track progress or failures and with the appropriate techniques, take corrective or preventive actions.After I measured my performance and analyzed it, I found out what causes the lack of focus and eliminated those variables or at least reduced them. I also exploited those that improved focus and as I did both, I also measured against the initial 15 minutes.

The last question will be How do you measure? This is where the work is, taking measurements can be a little stressful and you could be bias sometimes especially days you know that you performed poorly but there will peaks and troughs, celebrate the peaks and prevent the troughs. To measure properly take the following steps

  • Choose the appropriate metrics, whether it’s time gained / lost or it could be number of customers reviews and approval, the metric you choose should measure the planned goal.
  • Choose the right type of measurement. There are so many types but I’ll group it broadly into Qualitative and Quantitative. Qualitative simply put just means creating a quality matrix for example Good, Bad or I tried and quantitative means attaching an actual numerical value to the measurement.
  • Most importantly use visual cues, make your measurements visual, keep it in a place you can come across every time whether it’s electronic or physically.
  • Finally do it everyday. If it’s weight, just check it every morning and right it down on a piece of paper. If you’re trying to read a book write down how many pages you read even if it’s zero.

After taking measurements for about a week you can look at it and figure out what happened each day and make plans to improve. Trust me whatever you measure, you can control. Next time I’ll give tips about software you can use but for now let’s try it on a piece of paper.

We back baby! since it’s a new week, look up the meaning of kaizen. Let’s do this some other time.

Thanks 🙂

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