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What Gets Measured, Gets Managed

"What gets measured, gets managed." - Peter Drucker

There is so much power in this quote. If you've never tracked yourself, you don't even know how much power there is in tracking. I couldn't even explain it adequately. You wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was exaggerating. The simple act of paying attention to something will cause you to make connections you never did before, and you'll improve the those areas - almost without any extra effort.

I'm not a believer in "free lunch" and I don't think the universe vibrates things to you just by thinking about them. But the closest thing to a free lunch getting vibrated to you by the universe is writing things down as they happen.

Before I go any further, I need to give you one piece of advice - start small and build up, so you don't overwhelm yourself. This is just being pragmatic. You want to scale up gradually, as I wrote up in "The Evolution of My Time/Habit/Life Tracking." You want to build small wins, lock them so they become automatic, and then expand.

I'd have a hard time convincing you of the power of tracking, so I'll just show you. I fill this out every single day.

Throw Away Your Work

On Tynan

I have a whole book written that you'll probably never see. A third of a novel that I'll finish by the end of the year, but may never publish. Pages of rap lyrics I've written. Over fifty finished blog posts that will never see the light of day. Forty videos of me talking to the camera about the kind of stuff I write about it. Hours of travel footage from cool places like Iceland.

All that work, is, in a sense, thrown away. Some of it just never came together properly (like the Iceland footage), but a lot of it is quite good. Some of that stuff I created KNOWING that it would be thrown away, like the forty videos. Every night I make another one. I used to just delete them, but now I save them on a hard drive so that I'll have a record of my thoughts.

Why do I create work just to throw it away? Well, it's a hack. The more work I do, the more positive outliers I'll have. Let's say that I'm a slightly above average writer. In a week, I'll write seven posts. If I were to rate them on a scale from 1 to 10, I'd say that the distribution looks like this: 3 5 5 7 7 8 9. The average of those is 6.5, which sounds about right to me. So if I were to sit down twice a week, write a post and publish it, maybe I'd average a 7 (because probably if I wrote a 3 I would either skip the week or write something else). However, by writing seven posts a week, my published average goes up to an 8.5, because I only publish the 8 and 9.

Besides the simple mathematical bump in quality, I can also take bigger risks. I now have a huge backlog of 8+ posts, so I feel no pressure to write something good. That lets me occasionally take a shot at something amazing, one of those posts that willl either be a three or a ten, depending on how well I can capture the idea and put it on paper. The sheer volume of writing I'm doing teaches me and makes me a better writer, as does shooting for these tough-to-write posts.

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