Il Blog del Della (2005 – 2010)

Libertà di espressione e collaborazione, dall'Open Source al Social Networking. Pensieri e informazione da Daniele Dellafiore.

Measure your resolutions

My only new year resolution this year was to not to write new years resolution and to write something about resolutions in general, new year or not, at the beginning of February. I hate mandatory holidays, birthdays, celebrations, traditions of any kind. I do not like new years res as well. So I write my meta resolution article one months later. So snob.

New years resolution are one of the most stupid thing one can do to stay fine with himself. Write a past year report is something far more interesting, challenging, useful and hard. The main reason it is hard is that people forget. I firmly believe that the ability to forget is important as the ability to remember, but this is another story. The difference stay in applying the right skill when it matters.

Forgetting what you have done in your daily job or activity, as well in some ordinary everyday task, is very bad, in many ways. You can't never completely blame or be proud of yourself. You can be in a general way but if you have no real indicator, is too vague and completely useless.

What is the trick? That if you do not write down what you do and how many effort you put in accomplish a task, in getting an objective, something is wrong. If you can't measure, you can't say if something you do worth, or how much it worth.

More than this, if you do not write, you have no track, you can't measure and in the end you have no real control over what you are doing. You follow the wind and somehow, after some time, you will just just get lost. Tracking is more than just creating a to-do list. Is also about marking things done and having a history about what you did, when and how much effort you put in it. Tracking is about measuring
This is the reason most of the people can just work for others. Their time, their accomplishments and everything else is measured by someone else. Good or bad, this is the truth. When we are employed by someone else, we just delegate the responsibilities to track our activities to others.

Is good for someone, for the majority I believe. Not for some other, definitely not for me.

Measure your accomplishments is the key to do less and get more. If you set some vague target, something that you cannot measure day by day or week by week, it is just a big new year's lie. Setting targets like "I will write a book this year" or "I will lose 10Kg in 6 months" is useless. This are directions, but is nothing operative. It pass the same difference as from desire to project. What if you arrive at June without losing nothing? You blame yourself but you do not know why. You can just say "Oh I am so lazy". Self commiseration. You can't learn from that, you can just keep crying and this, again, it is useless.

So tell something like: "I will make 1 hour gym every other day". After one week, you can already see how is going and is more operative than the generic losing weight target. Write 10 pages a week. Dedicate 1 hour a day studying one new thing. Reading one chapter of some book per day. Spend one hour a day with playing with my kids or playing piano or listening to a new record. Talk with each collaborator once per week.

Or, even more important, plan what not to do. Last year I wrote about "7 things I will not do in 2009". I manage to do 6 out of 7. Removing activities sometime is more important than planning new ones, it depends if you feel you are losing time doing non useful stuff. This year I am done with removing activities, I have no more thing I want to eliminate or, at least, is not the most important thing I need to do. My first global task is to measure and keep on doing that for a long period.

Some people tend to do many things, other to do nothing. Is not relevant which kind of individual you are. Either way, without measurement, you get lost in your iper-activity or in your laziness, and you will get few and bad results.

Continuous measurement is the key for self improvement and to get things done and to not fall back into unproductive condition. Is also the key to not become stressed about what we are or are not doing. If you measure, you have control, and you can manage your activities and in the end, your life.

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