In Challenges, Leadership, Perspective, Self-Awareness, Wednesday Wisdom

At this time last year, I was blogging about how much I value data (Ditch the 2019 resolutions & collect data). Instead of grandiose resolutions for the New Year, I encouraged readers to collect data. My logic was that with increased information comes better-informed decisions, especially when it comes to breaking bad habits and adopting new ones.

A year later, I stand by love of data for improved self-reflection and self-improvement. But I was reminded recently that too much data can also cause information overload, and so I feel the need to clarify my data strategy.

Recently, a client shared a fairly long list of goals that his organization had set for 2020. The document provided lots of data to back up the rationale behind each goal, but when I asked my client which goal was his top priority, he looked shell-shocked.

I am sure that his organization had good intentions when the list of goals was created, but for employees, including my client, the information was useless without an action plan.

I’ve also experienced some of the negative effects of data dumps. As the number of apps and digital services I subscribe to has increased, I’ve started to receive lots of data about my daily habits. My music subscription service recently sent me information about my most played artist and most played song of the year. My credit card company provides a breakdown of my expenses each month, and I can easily access my fitness data. Some of this data is helpful, but most of it is meaningless because it doesn’t help me make meaningful changes in my life.

I still think data (and data collection) is important, but as you review 2019 data to inform your 2020 business or personal development plans, be sure it results in more productivity, not paralysis.

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