Peter Drucker.  You may never have heard of him.  But you’ve very likely heard what he said:

“What gets measured, gets managed”.

And here’s what that means:

If you want to improve something, you’ve got to measure it.

The first step is to get a baseline.

And to do that, you have to pull your head out of the sand and get ready to face whatever it is you’ve been afraid of confronting.

(You know the feeling: “I know it’s bad, but do I really want to know how bad???” Yes, yes you do. If you want to improve, that is.)

In fact, when I work with my clients and students, there are 2 things we want to get a baseline on right away:

Time and distractions.

You may think, as most people do, that you already know where your time goes, and you already know what you’re distracted by.

But you’d be wrong. 

There are always insights when we start tracking.

What you think you know and what is actually true?

Well, these are often quite different.

And if you’re reading this right now, I know you’re the type of person who seeks personal improvement.

And, if you want to know if you’re improving, you need a baseline.

So how can you get started and what might you want to track?


If you want to start improving how you spend your time, start tracking it to see where you are. 

You can track in a number of different ways (all of which I cover in both my group and 1:1 coaching programs btw), but what exactly you track will determine where and how you can improve.

Personally, I track my time in a couple of different ways, a couple of different times a year.  (Why don’t I track all the time, you ask?  Well, I find it a bit tedious, and I don’t need to track ALL THE TIME to get the data I’m looking for.)

Sometimes I track just the activities, so I can see if I’m sleeping enough, exercising as much as I want to, and most importantly, not working too much.

Other times I track only my work time with the express goal of seeing what % of my work time is spent doing things only I can do, vs. how much time I’m spending on stuff I should probably be outsourcing or delegating.


Do you know what you’re primary distractors are?  Not quite sure?  Try tracking, for just a day.

Here’s how: 

  1. Get out a notebook and put it on your desk. 
  2. Every time you get distracted, write down what it was that distracted you. 
  3. By the end of the day, I’ll bet you see some trends

And now you know where to focus your efforts in order to reduce those distractions.

I had a client once who did this with some very surprising results! 

Instead of dings and pings, as he had anticipated, his 2 primary distractors were one of his kids (not the other one) and his own thirst.  He was finding that every time be got thirsty, he’d take a trip to the kitchen, grab a glass of water, get distracted by something else (double distraction!) and find himself back at his deck 20 minutes later.

Sometimes you just don’t know until you track!


Are you a little impulsive?  In a way that’s detrimental?

How about spending a week or two tracking those impulses. 

Every time you have a thought of “I should do THIS…NOW”.  Don’t do it, just write it down instead.

After a few weeks, take a look at the data. 

This is a broad category, so I don’t know what you’ll find! 

But I bet it’ll be interesting, and I bet you’ll have some ideas about how you could improve.

And you may find that many of those trains of thought you had the impulse to follow RIGHT THIS SECOND, are meaningless to you 2 weeks later.  


Do you spend a little more than you’d like?  Do you have less money at the end of the month than you think you ought to?

Instead of trying to curb your spending right out of the gate, try tracking it for a month.

You’ll see trends, and you’ll see where you can cut, in ways that won’t really affect the quality of your life.


  • Want to get faster at running?  Want to improve your stamina?
    • Well you need to get a baseline first.
    • And lucky for you, this type of stuff is the absolute easiest to track. 
    • I use Runkeeper (a free app), and I hear great things about Strava
    • All you need to do is press start and the tracking is done for you.
    • Heck, Runkeeper will even tell you when you need new running shoes based on the number of miles you’ve put in.
  • Want to lift heavier things?
    • Well, you better find out how much you can lift right now.
    • And then you can start adding weight, little by little!


Not getting enough sleep? Instead of starting with sleep hygenine, bedtime alarms, etc, try starting with tracking.

You will likely get more sleep JUST by tracking, but you’ll also have a much better idea of where you can introduce strategies. For instance, if you find that you’re already in bed at a decent hour, then getting to bed earlier isn’t going to help. But you’ll likely unearth some strategies that will simply by tracking.

Worried about what you’ll find if you start tracking?

You’re not alone. It can be tempting to just stick your fingers in your ears and sing “lalalala”.

But that won’t get you anywhere but stuck.

And here’s the thing:

The data exists already. It’s just whether you know it or not.

And, as they say, “knowledge is power”.

And look, I get it, tracking stuff takes time and it takes effort, and it’s not the most fun of all tasks, that’s for sure. 

But things don’t always have to be fun to be worthwhile. 

And you don’t have to track things forever. 

You can do it intermittently.

And let’s face it, it’s pretty fun to look back at how far you’ve come.

What have you improved by tracking?

What are you inspired to track after reading this?

Let me know in the comments!