Sebastien Le Tuan
Sebastien Le Tuan is a recovering "late-oholic." He is typically always late to friends and family events. One day he had a conversation with his dad that made him realize what effects his tardiness has on his personal and professional life. In this talk, Sebastien describes how he started tracking his punctuality and what he has learned from the process.
Google Calendar | GTimeReport
Good evening everyone. My name is Sebastien Le Tuan, and I’m a recovering late-oholic. So how many people here knows someone who’s typically late? Okay, and how many of you actually are willing to admit that that person is you? Wow! Okay, so come and see me afterward.
So you know, I had never been a very punctual person myself, and you know it largely depended on the situation, but I was particularly notorious with friend and family events, always late for those. And they were quite you know, generous and forgiving about it, but deep inside I didn’t really feel that it was something great.
So one day I had a conversation with my dad, that’s him over on the left side there, and also sitting right here and he helped me realize, you know the impact and the importance of you know that habit that I had and how it might effect on how people perceive me. You know, especially it could spread to gossip and so on. So I kind of made a conscious choice to say you know, do something about it and I didn’t want to be that guy that was always keeping people waiting and like the guy that was always late.
So first I wanted to establish a baseline, right. So I hadn’t really no idea how punctual I was. I knew it wasn’t great, but you know, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. And I decided to Google Calendar because that’s how it’s you know been running my life for several years already.
And so what I did was for each event. I would just add a tag after the event. So if I was on time to my dinner, after the event, I would put OT on the tag, and for if I was late. I would put NOT, which was not on time. And for events that I really didn’t care to track like that swimming event there, I’d just leave it alone.
And then I used a very cool tool called GTimeReport, free tool; it allows you to extract all of your Google calendar events and you know, all across your ordinary calendars and different time periods and outputs into Excel. So more or less it's kind of the output of there that I got. So you can see in the second column there those were all the events and if you squint you can kind of see the OT and NOT tags there after the event.
So basically what I did in Excel now is massage the table a little bit. So I looked for those tags, and you can see there is a column that I added there. The green cells are the ones that I was on time to. The red cells were the events that I was late to. And basically, you can see the count going up if we zoomed in view here. You can see the on time, count going up and the not on time going up and the addition of those two would be the full count.
So if there was an event that I didn’t track it would just not affect the total count. So that’s how I calculated the punctuality score. I took a total on time count and divided that with the total count.
And if you notice on the very right there is another column called notes, where I added some more tagging, and I did that in code tagging, for example, if the event had to do with friends or family, all work and so on.
So basically, I did this for 45 days, and it was kind of on and off because and I'll talk about this a little bit later, because it's not straightforward to do this tracking right, it's very manual.
But you can see that there is some interesting observations here. First of all, in the beginning, my punctuality score was very high, and certainly, it dropped off and then it actually leveled out and the end of the 45 days to about 67%.
And you might think, well you know, that’s not really a late-oholic person’s performance track, right. But I think what happened was that in the beginning, I was so hypersensitive to the tracking, and it was sold top of mind my first events were on time, and then I started slipping to my old habits and then it finally leveled out.
What was also interesting was when I was late, I was late mostly with family, which kind of confirmed something that I had a feeling and it was also confirming the notion that you take for granted the people closest to you.
So this is all great, but there are two problems. Number one, I was at 67%, which probably was better than what it used to be that. But I felt like you know, I wasn’t making progress fast enough and you know I started hitting a plateau.
And the second problem was it was just a lot of work. After every event, I had to go into Google calendar, edit the event, add a tag in there. And then I would use a tool, extract all the event. Bring it to Excel, and have to massage the Excel file, and then finally I could do some analysis.
So I managed to convince to very intelligent developers that I knew to build a prototype, that would basically automate a lot of this manual work that I was doing. And we chose the Android platform because at the time Android were had just come out and it would be cool to actually test this out on a smart watch, which I'm actually wearing right now.
And so the way it works is very simple. Two minutes before my next event, it would basically prop me and ask me, are you going to be on time or not. And all I would have to do is say yes, no, or don’t track so the same methodology as before. And so that very easily allowed me to get a punctuality score, which is displayed on the phone, as well as a trending of my punctuality over time.
And it’s a rolling window of 14 data points, and what is cool to is just saying I didn’t log right away right, I could always go back on log view and catch up on all my logins and the end of the day, which were for whatever time and also see a history of all my tracked events. So which ones I was on time to and which one I was not on time too. So that was really nice, and that solve the problem of making it easier to track. So that's great, I had more data, and more data is always good.
But it didn't really help me with you know, my goal of reaching that 80% is really what I had set my sights on, and I want to be at 80 or above. And so what we added was the ability for me to set a sort of personal goal, which I use as a step goal. So, I started maybe at 70% and then I went to 75. So it felt more achievable, and I felt more successful of being able to set lower goals.
The other thing that we added as well was a success chain counter. So basically, how many times I was on time in a row, which is pretty fun. As well, as a prompted to get me going at a time, which took into account the travel time as well as the a cushioning time, which helps the planning. And this is actually a screenshot from the prototype of the day and a couple of hours ago, and you can see that I’m at 79% today. So with all those tools that actually made it made a good difference.
So what are sort of the key learnings here? Well, first of all, the main thing I was just tracking myself actually leads to increased awareness, which internalized into a behavior change. And surprisingly I didn't even have to learn how to be punctual, just the fact that I was tracking helped. But it really only got me so far.
So I’m coming to realize that I really need multiple things, right. Number one is I need to meet that conscious choice that kind of kicks everything off. I need to be able to track very easily, and I need to be able to set some step goals. And also I need some extra tools, specifically to that behavior to help ensure a longer change.
And so the reason why I’m saying I’m a recovering late-alolic and not a former late-aholic is that I'm not fooling myself. I know that once I cross that line, the real success is one that I'm consistently over that line over time, right. So I know that's really when I'm going to feel it, I've become a punctual person really. And actually, that's my next project. I want to be able to track consistency itself and see how that effects behavior change, and maybe that's a good measure of the degree of change that somebody might have and I'm going to save that for my next Quantified Self talk.