Last August, I found myself becoming slightly obsessed with my daily food intake. Being the geek that I am, I made the decision to start tracking not just what I was eating, but also other areas of my life to see where I could improve my all-round general health and well being. I decided to track my food intake using MyFitnessPal, my weight and blood pressure using Withings Wifi devices, and my exercise and other metrics using an Apple Watch (see my review here), as well as IFTTT. As a result, I came up with some interesting strategies to improve mental, emotional, physical and spiritual intelligence. What was surprising was that many of these metrics became vastly improved simply just by me measuring them, even before I had implemented any conscious changes.
I was, in fact, tapping into a phenomenon that is well known and well used. It is called the Hawthorne effect, which champions the ideal that “there is a tendency in some people to work harder and perform better when they are participants in an experiment”.
This ideology can be applied to many aspects of the physical and emotional well-being, including:
At a recent family party, several of us agreed that the Hawthorne effect is indeed powerful. A relative told me that he uses Training Peaks, an elite training package designed to provide guidance, data driven training, and immediate feedback to improve his own training times. This backs up the Hawthorne Effect perfectly – we all aim higher when we compete (even if it is against our own results).
A recent headline in www.mailonline.com claimed this: “The key to losing weight is as simple as weighing yourself every day, experts have revealed”
The main expert behind the claim was Dr. Heewon Lee Gray, a behavioural nutritionist at Columbia University. So the Hawthorne Effect also offers effective assistance with weight loss, stemming from evidence-based management. When something is carefully monitored within a strict set of rules, and decisions are made based only on the results, positive results are more likely to happen. In this context, losing weight is definitely a positive result!
Do you have a clear sense of purpose? Surprisingly, many of us never even ask the question. As part of the beta version of Coachify™, I have started surveying my coaching clients about the quality of their spiritual life. By simply responding to a few simple questions (which takes approximately 2 minutes, twice per week) they are able to measure their own results and increase their self-perception of quality. It would appear that the old cliche “What gets measured gets done”. Author Tom Peters called this the soundest management advice he has heard, and it seems to ring true in several domains!
So What next?
Are you measuring what really matters? What do you need to measure to improve your performance or impact?
If you work in a large organisation, connect with Coachify™ today! Coachify™ offers a proprietary software platform that helps leaders and managers to use wearables to improve their productivity by measuring what really matters and providing coaching insight based on that data against your objectives.