What gets measured, gets managed.

The sentence in the title is a famous quote by Peter Drucker from his 1954 book titled, “The Practice of Management.” The quote has been repeated so many times since then that it has almost become a cliche.

I have personally experienced the power of measurement on several occasions. For example, simply measuring the number of hours I spend working is often enlightening. The measured number almost always turns out to be less than what I had expected. And once I see a number in front of my eyes, I get an urge to improve it. Thus eventually I start working more.

I have seen similar effects of measurement on other people too. A friend of mine was once unhappy with his performance at work. He felt he didn’t have the required skills to succeed in the profession. After a long discussion trying to diagnose his problem, we came to the conclusion that he should monitor the time he spent working. It turned out, he was working for less than 2 hours per week. It was then clear what the culprit was.

I have seen people who are trying to write books get into a race with themselves over how many words they write per day. I have discussed a similar example of racing with yourself in a previous article.

Bestselling author Tim Ferris, in his book “Four Hour Body”, recounts the story of a man who lost weight merely by being aware of it every day. He started by drawing a huge graph with time on the x-axis and his weight on the y-axis. Then he marked his current weight and the weight he wanted to be at after two years. Next, he joined these two points with a straight line, and drew two parallel lines, one above and one below this straight line. These two parallel lines marked the region he wanted to be in. Every day, he would weigh himself and mark the corresponding point on the graph. Whenever he got a mark close to the line on the top, he would feel motivated to eat less and exercise. That’s how he lost 10 pounds in 2 years.

Measurement serves two purposes:

  1. It makes you motivated. It is in human nature that whenever he is given a score based on something he did, it motivates him to improve his score.
  2. It gives you a clear idea about the reality and helps you make effective future strategies.

Try to exploit this power during your preparation.

Monday, March 11th, 2013

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