Data is for decision-making

I keep records for all sorts of things: fitness statistics, time tracking for work, and writing word counts, to name a few. It’s data that sits in notebooks and spreadsheets, and it will never be used again.

Yesterday’s fitness statistics make sense when working out today: How many reps did I do and at what weight? Did it feel easy or difficult? That data is used to make a choice about what weight and number of reps to do today. Four years and a bunch of donuts later, the data is useless.

Time tracking for work makes sense when it’s time to bill a client. It could be used to estimate a project next year, but only if the time tracking is tied to a previous project. Sometimes the data is hard to work with; work done in the past isn’t the same as work estimated in the future.

Word counts didn’t provide much value to me at all so I don’t track it. The only data point that matters now is boolean: Did I write or not?

Recording data is useless unless you can use it for decision-making.

Written on February 28, 2022