If You Want to Reach Your Goals, Track Your Activities
Every month I put together a list of things I want to work on in the coming month. When creating these goals, it’s always easier when I have a reference point to base any improvement on. I think of it the same as saying you’re going to lose weight, but never weighing yourself.
For my July 2017 Monthly Goals post, you might notice that each of these has a “benchmark” associated with it — which is how I did on these in June 2017. For these, having this benchmark in the first place offers a starting point. Here are some of the things you can track to work on improving.
- RescueTime – Great for general application and website usage.
- Last.fm – Great for music tracking
- Fitbit Alta HR – The most simple fitness, sleep, and heart rate tracker.
- Runkeeper – Tracking Runs
- Todoist – Tracking completed todos
- Withings Scale – Weight and body composition tracking
Not everything you’ll want to improve will be trackable by some mindless tracker though. For those, you’ll still need to track them manually.
I lean to automated tracking for everything I possibly can. This doesn’t work for everything, and whenever something isn’t automatically tracked, I’ll tend to fall off the tracking bandwagon.
- Use a physical journal
- Update a note in Evernote
- Write on a wall calendar
- Draw a calendar on a bathroom mirror with a whiteboard marker and fill it out
- Google Doc
- Habit-tracking apps like Productive
- Food intake via FitDay or other food trackers
- Use a Google Sheet
I’ve tried all of these, and what I’ve always come back to is using a Google Sheets to track things. The downside of using an existing app is being tied to a specific methodology, and I prefer to adapt and change my strategy to accomplish a goal as I know more. I’ll add comments to my sheets and adapt my strategy.
For my last month’s goal, I had this great idea of replying to 3 posts a day and posting comments. That’s been a more difficult one than I expected. I don’t want to leave terrible comments, so I’ve quickly decided to revise that and update it in my Google Sheets.
Another benchmark of mine from last month was around using social media less — namely Facebook and Reddit. This one quickly changed as I decided to start a Minafi Facebook Page. With RescueTime. you can actually split time out based on URL, which would allow for segmenting — but that’s a $9/mo feature.
Don’t waste time tracking what you aren’t interested in improving. Once you’ve reached a point where you don’t think tracking is going to help, it’s OK to stop tracking as well. This is just a small sample of things you can track and ways to do it.
What other activities have you found useful to track? What are other services great for passive tracking?