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Track, track, track: The reminder on my wrist

It was a full-circle kind of moment. A light bulb. A realization of Oprah proportions.

Tracking makes you accountable. It's unbiased feedback. It's the honest truth staring back at you.

And it works.

It all came to me one day at work. My department has been discussing the need to track our daily work so we can more effectively manage our time and potentially bill customers for the hours we spend on projects. However, we haven't found an official system or program to do so. And to be honest, most of us were dragging our feet about it.

My Jawbone Up: a constant reminder to move and track!
You see, I tried keeping a simple list on paper, then a digital one. Some days, I was diligent about tracking everything I'd done ... and other days? I said forget it.

That's when it hit me. The days I didn't want to track? Those were the days I was disappointed in my performance. Those were the days when I didn't want a paper record of what I did (or really didn't) accomplish.

Hello! It's the same as tracking my food and fitness! 

For years, researcher have told us that keeping a food diary, an activity log, etc., is an effective method for losing and maintaining weight. And I've seen the proof in the pudding, so to speak, for more than three years with Weight Watchers.

I had the most success with my weight loss when was diligent about tracking all of my food intake. When I was ashamed/embarrassed/disappointed in my choices, nothing was written down. I bet a lot of you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

Just after New Year's, Kyle and I bought Jawbone Up activity trackers. I realize there's a lot of debate on the accuracy of wearable devices, but I found one huge benefit to mine: It's always on my wrist. It's a constant reminder that I'm tracking my activity, good or bad.

More often than not, I'm motivated to do good. BONUS: I'm motivated to also track my food every time I update my count for the day. So maybe I'm not really getting 5,356 steps today, but because I've been tracking regularly, I can see that I've moved significantly less than the day/week before.

It's all about feedback and accountability. That's my point here. You can track points, calories, steps, heart rate, miles or minutes - it's up to you. Just track it all! You'll be motivated to make better choices, and you'll be proud to write those down. Even on the bad days, you'll be able to see how you could improve next time.

So maybe my Excel spreadsheet at work isn't as accurate or detailed as time-management software, but it's a start. The same goes with choosing a device, app or journal. Every method has pros and cons, but the bottom line remains the same: Track, track, track, and you'll be more likely to find success.

Comments

  1. So, so true. I tend to make better choices when I'm tracking because I know I'm accountable for what I put in my mouth. If I have no record of it, did I really eat that bagel or the gummy smurf? It's debatable. I've tried other ways of tracking - the good choices or the bad as a way to take away from the big picture but it never works.

    But please don't make me track work time. Lawd, I don't think I could put "3.2 minutes on Facebook" or "17 minutes writing email to friend." Le sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Umm .. I don't track THAT closely at work! But it really has improved my "efficiency" so to speak. I'm not perfect by any means, but tracking my project time makes me think about not stopping every five minutes to look at my phone, check my Gmail, etc.

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