Happy 2010! Note this is the third in a three-part series on ideas anyone can ride in 2010 and beyond. - part I is here and part II is here.
Image credit: Evernote Web site
One of the great mindset shifts from the last decade is that today, finally, people of all walks are recognizing that what gets captured and measured gets managed (to quote Peter Drucker).
In 2010 and beyond we will become far more savvier about using data (both our own and aggregate streams) to make decisions large and small. Those who commit themselves to becoming data-driven will be in the best position to succeed both in business and in life - just ask Google. Consider leading yourself and inspire others to do live and work the same. In 2010 I am personally trying to apply data-driven tools, thinking and insights to all of my goals.
One way anyone become more data-driven by logging his/her life. This isn't a new idea. In fact, it's ancient. Consider former senator Bob Graham. He takes meticulous daily notes on the mundane to foreign policy in notebooks and has done so for decades.
"I start each month with a fresh notebook, the color which would follow the last notebook of the previous month. On the inside cover of the notebook I write the information which will determine its overall position in the total collection of notebooks (the first notebook used in July of 2009 would be 7/09A), the date upon which the notebook was commenced and completed, and the information which would assist in recovery of the notebook should it be lost (address, home-office-cell numbers and email address) and, finally, an index of when the sections of notebook were completed by my having finished the “things to do” lists in that notebook."
Self-tracking goes beyond just capture, though. You need to use the data to glean insights. Google Spreadsheets has a great way to do this with their gadgets. You can even set up forms for to make capturing the data even easier. For more on this topic, read Chris Brogan's "three words," Flowing Data and The Quantified Self. Other tools to look at include 23andMe, Nike Plus, Evernote and a host of others.
Oh and if you think this is just for geeks, think again. Even parents are obsessed with data. For more, see the video embedded below or here.
There's no doubt in my mind that if you dedicate yourself to using data wisely to plan and measure you will succeed no matter what your goals are. And, increasingly, the tools to make this happen are getting easier and more accessible all the time.