Setting Goals And Holding Myself To Account
Lee Rogers is a total data nerd who has collected a few hundred thousand data points over many years. He aggregates his data using various online services. In this video, he shares his lessons learned from his goal dashboarding and annual reporting experiments.
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So it’s awesome to have so many data nerds in this room at all the same time because this joke rarely works in other groups. Two Palo Alto data visualizations walk into a bar and - no I’m kidding there’s no joke!
So seriously, I’m a total data nerd and I’ve collected over many years even past the great hard drive crash 05, probably a few hundred thousand data points. And I’m a kind of a person that believes that most answers will come if you have enough data. So I use most of this data for data logging or data streaming, so I pull a lot of data from aggregation of online services, mostly because they have so much rich metadata about things like Flixster or like Goodreads or whatever.
But what I want to do is be able to pull this data down so I can do other correlations and other types of aggregation. So I pull it down into my own database periodically and then use that data for all sorts of different things. But as Aaron was talking about yesterday getting this data is an absolute pain in the ass.
So since I’m lazy what I try to do is I try to gather tis data as easy as possible but it’s not as easy as it could be. What I try to do is automat it as much as possible which is definitely on the far left of the craft skill of data. And that’s the automated scripts running and pulling it against formatted data, pulling it against APIs or process feeds continuously and pulling it into the database, but of course that’s not always available. So another option of course is that I run these scripts automatically that we’ll go and screen scrape because these other people don’t provide data sources. And that’s unreliable unfortunately because websites change or other things happen, so have to find other ways to do it.
The most, or not the most but a non-optimal method would also be that since I use an Android phone I have methodologies to be able to screen scrape apps, because these apps may not provide data otherwise. And we can talk technical details and how to do that with Tasker, but manual method for being as lazy as I am is absolutely the worst. I try to make it easy as possible by maybe using voice input insights. But these methods here are a kind of a graduation scale which is always focus on getting the data but do it as easy and as quick as possible.
But I really want to focus on as I get older that I don’t want to be just a valuator for being a Quantified Self. I want to be also qualified and I have to say Kirk Mark, is a 184 Tinder days is like a QS rock star I think he’s awesome.
So I setup a mission statement for my life which says these four basic tenants that I would like to do. Things like you know, live a healthy life, be wise, want to be Zen and live in the moment, also be a good friend. But we want to equate those down into real objectives because your very lofty. So I setup of course objectives that show different levels of things that I would do.
Some if it’s fate, right, if I drink more water or eat more vegetables, hopefully I’ll be more healthy. And if I travel or read books and the best movies, and hopefully I’ll be more wise. But what happens though is that you want to attract to these. And as David was talking earlier and you want to create a personal dashboard to be able to display some of this information and make sure I’m on track.
So this dashboard allows me to make sure that I’m working in a way on a daily basis to do things. And it uses visual cues of where a tile is lit say I have work to do on that or if it’s not complete. Or if it’s darkened it means I don’t have to worry about it and I’ll move on plus there’s mobile versions of such to make sure that I can do it on the fly.
I also have an annual dashboard of course because I’m trying to meet these larger goals, so this annual dashboard shows how well I’m doing while using the same visual language as before. And this type of methodology helps me at least make you feel better that you’re trying to accomplish tasks and get to where you want to be.
I also drill down so that you can get into more information but there’s always a question, “But how did you do this”. I’m an old Microsoft guy, so I use the technologies available to me. I’m a crappy developer so I use whatever I can, and this is normally with old BB scripts and pulling down scripts and such.
I did feel that there was a need to be able to snap shot this information. Periodically, I can do like a detailed analysis, and like many of us that may have come across Nicholas Felton’s annual dashboarding type technologies. So I started building annual reports like many others, and I’ve built probably six over the past few years. Yes, I do create coffee table books which are kind of nerdy. And if anybody wants a copy you know catch me later.
But what did I learn? And some of the things that I’ve learned of course maybe comes down to Zen. I want to get things done. I want to be able to show I’m making progress in life and such, and I do that through DTD or also technologies to relate to getting things done.
One thing I notice is that out of the thousands of tasks that I do, only like 15 or 16% were priority projects, things that would move my life forward, and like 60% of them weren’t even part of projects.
Make a change on that, what I did was put a tile on the dashboard that says everyday complete one priority task, and hopefully that will in 2017, start to make some difference and how I do that would be around how I use Outlook and how I pull that data and do it through scripts.
The results in 2017 did show that priority tasks were up to almost 20% and completed three out of the 10 priority things that I really wanted to do to move my life forward.
This on/of, lit/not lit visual language is very helpful to just say get things done. Another thing would be is that I want to build strong relationships with people and to foster their relationship. And one of the things that I noticed in my annual reporting is that there were some very close friends that I just didn’t talk to enough, and I found that unacceptable.
So how do you do that? How do you make that change? Put a tile on the dashboard that will track how long it’s been since you’ve met somebody or if there’s anybody that’s succeeded the threshold then it will prompt me on a daily basis and say, hey, reach out to this person. You haven’t seen him in seven days or whatever it is.
And this was a little bit more of a challenge to implement this type of thing because that’s data’s hard. And since I want to focus on texts and emails and being with people and phone calls, again, since I use an Android phone I have some other technologies available to me to track some of those communications via the phone and it made it a little bit easier.
Everybody wants to talk about fitness and how you do things, so of course I had to obligatory slide around fitness. And when I found in 2016 that weight loss was necessarily associated with those 10,000 steps they tell us to have every day. It really came down to active minutes, and I saw this and this correlation that I did in the annual reporting.
So how do you fix that? You put a tile on the dashboard to say every day you need to be doing this and turn that tile off which is important. And of course how I do it like most people, as you pull data from your activity tracker and then be able to display that on the dashboard.
Really the most important thing about this of course is if you’re trying to make progress on things you need to be able to put some kind of timeline into it or put some kind of motivation into it. And like they said is that sorry I just lost the quote. But it was brilliant and talk to me later when I get it. But thank you.