If you can measure it…🔬

I’m a huge data geek.

This is the first thing that I tweeted this year, after my New Year’s selfie of course 🥂 :

The 2016 Canadian Census was one of the highlights of my year, for a bunch of different reasons:

  • It was my first census.
  • It was the first census in 10 years (the Harper government cancelled it so that we wouldn’t be able to measure how shitty their policies were.)
  • I got the long form census, which contains 84.329% more census!
  • Canadians were so excited about it that the traffic crashed the census website.
  • I would be represented in the dataset that’s used to create public policy!

It should come as no surprise that my app, Compass, is being built around data. There’s a great quote, “if you can measure it, you can improve it”, that really gets to the core of why we might want to collect data in the first place. It looks pretty straightforward on paper, but in practice I’ve actually discovered that not all data is created equally.

It turns out, how the data is collected is extremely important, maybe even more important than the data itself! For about a year now, I’ve had a goal to code for at least a few minutes every single day. Two weeks ago, I started tracking it with my app, and the results have been interesting to say the least!

The negative side effects are predictable: I started sleeping less. As of right now, according to Compass I need to sleep 16 hours and 17 mins in order to catch up on all my sleep debt and be fully rested. Ouch!

On the flip side, I now write code 5.6 days per week, which is excellent! Considering that I don’t really do any programming at work, and one weeknight can typically be written off for the blog, this is actually pretty impressive.

Despite tracking this for a while outside of my app, I only noticed a big change in my habits once I started actively logging it manually. When it’s automatic, it’s easy to forget, but doing it by hand makes you to think of your goal and give yourself a mental reward if you’re getting closer to it! Unfortunately, manually logging data can also become dull or tiresome, which defeats the purpose of it, and if you log too many things at once then nothing is your focus.

It’s definitely a complicated formula, but for the most part what you track will have a tendency to improve. If you’re up for it, your challenge for this week is to try logging some new data about yourself! Do it for a bit, see what happens… Science!🔬

In the meantime, I’m going to get some sleep! 🌙

See you next week 🙂