Metrics – Adding Tracking Data

In Using Metrics To Track Your Progress we discussed creating a new Metrics entry.  For a new metric to be useful we need to show progress and for that we need to add Tracking Data.  For demonstration purposes we’ll continue using the weight tracking metric.

There are two ways to add Tracking Data to your metric:

Method 1: If you already have the metric’s information form open, go the Tracking tab, click anywhere in the Tracking Values grid area, then press your keyboard’s Insert key.  The Metric Tracking Entry form should appear to help you enter the tracking data. The date is defaulted to Today’s date.

You can add as many entries as you want using this method.

Method 2: Shortcut

If you are working from the Metrics tab in the main Achieve Planner form…

Step 1: Go to the Metrics tab (Go -> Metrics menu item)

Step 2: Click once, anywhere within the row of the metric to which you want to add tracking data

Step 3: Use the Actions -> Add Tracking Entry menu item.

The same Metric Tracking Entry dialog will appear so you can enter the tracking data.

This method is great when you just want to quickly make an entry and don’t want to view all the details of the metric.

Tracking Entry Information

The tracking entry for a metric consists of the following fields…

Value: The current value (in this example weight in pounds) that you want to enter

Target: The expected or target value for the metric at this point in time… we’ll come back to this in the next article. For now, leave it blank.

Date: The date the value was measured, whether it’s today’s date or a previous date.

Type (pull-down menu): Choices are “Cumulative”, “New Total”, or “Instance”.  We’ll explore “Instance” and “Cumulative” in future articles. For now choose “New Total”.

The type usually matches the Metric’s overall type and you usually don’t have to change it.

Our completed form now looks like this:

Click OK to add the tracking entry to the metric, which you can see in the Tracking tab of the Metric’s Information Form:

If you’ve been tracking your weight some other way (like Post-It notes or your previous dayplanner), the Achieve Planner Metrics feature can reduce your paper load, simplify your life, and make it easy to have all your information at your fingertips for weight tracking.

Adding Tracking Entries From The Metric Reminder Screen

Remember that if you set a metric tracking reminder it will only occur once each day, at the time you’ve set.  That reminder will look the same as reminders used for appointments/events:

If you have more than one reminder due at the same time, they will all appear in the window.

To enter a tracking entry for the metric from the Reminder Window, just dismiss the reminder. Achieve Planner will ask you if you want to add a tracking entry for the metric. Select Yes to add a tracking entry, No to skip it.

NOTE: Once you’ve added one or more tracking entries, you may see a graph on the main Metrics tab, below the rows of entries. We’ll discuss that graph and the ways it can be changed in a future article.

Snooze: just like your bedside alarm clock, you can highlight a particular reminder, choose a time from the drop down list, then click Snooze and the reminder will disappear for that length of time. Each reminder in the list can have a different snooze time.  Or you can highlight one or more reminders and set the same snooze time for all highlighted.

Mini-Break: clicking this button will automatically set the reminder to re-appear in 10 minutes – no additional time setting is needed.  (For more information on mini-breaks and their benefits see the Get More Done In Less Time ebook and course.)

If you’re using AP Metrics to track your weight or any other important things, how has it benefitted you?  We invite you to add your comments below.

Using Metrics To Track Your Progress

There’s an old saying that “what gets measured gets done.” But all too often we rely on just our gut or intuition to asses our progress on our projects or goals.

Trusting that we will somehow have an inherent awareness of our progress might work for very simple jobs, like painting a room where we can easily see the status of the four walls around us, but this strategy can quickly fall apart if we use it for larger projects or goals that take time to complete.

A metric is a measurement of some kind that allows you to track your progress over time. For example, think of the odometer in your car which tells you how many miles you’ve traveled in a trip. That is one simple metric that almost everyone is familiar with.

Metrics are useful because they help you see your progress over time, which can be motivating, and they help you see when you are getting off-track so you can make a course correction.

Another good example of a metric is keeping track of your weight. Maybe you want to see the effects of a new diet or weight loss program, maybe you want to add a few extra pounds of muscle down at the gym, or maybe you just want to maintain and stay at your current weight.

It’s actually quite difficult to notice subtle weight gains or losses as they are happening if you don’t weigh yourself on a regular basis. Over the years, you can easily gain 10 or 20 pounds without even noticing. Even if you weigh yourself regularly, it’s difficult to see the fluctuations and overall patterns if you just keep track of it in your head.

Achieve Planner offers a simple but very useful Metrics tracking feature that makes it simple to keep track of what’s important to you.

You can access it using the Metrics tab (available from the Go menu). When you open the tab for the first time, you’ll see a blank slate, waiting for you to tell Achieve Planner what you want to track.

Let’s keep using the weight example to explore the Achieve Planner Metrics feature.

Creating a Metric

To add a new metric, press the Insert key or use the Insert menu.

By default, the following columns are displayed:

  • Active – Whether the metric is active or inactive
  • Priority – Allows you to prioritize and order metrics
  • Title – Title for the metric
  • Category – Category of the metric useful for filtering & grouping
  • Question – The question that you’ll ask yourself to enter the new metric value. For example, “How much do I weigh today?”
  • Target – The target value that you want to reach (for example, the weight that you want to reach)
  • Last Value – The last value that you entered for the metric
  • Status – The status of the metric (for example, if it’s overdue)

Personalizing Your Metric

Now that you’ve created a metric, it’s time to personalize it to help you track your weight.

Double-click anywhere on the new metric row to open up the Metric Information Form, which lets you customize your Metric in detail.

First, give the Metric a descriptive name, like “My Weight.”  Skip the Owner field for now and move on to the Category field, where you can choose to type in a Category name. This helps you group or filter related metrics together. For this example, a good category name might be “Health” or “Weight Tracking” if you want to be more specific.

Using a more specific category might be useful if you want to keep a handle on other metrics related to your weight tracking experience, like “minutes spent riding the bike.”

The next field is Recurrence, and to edit this field you will have to click on the Set Recurrence button beside the grayed out text box.  This will pop up a screen that allows you to control how often you want to track this Metric, with daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly options.

If you want, you can also choose a time range that begins and ends the tracking period for the Metric.  Most people tracking their weight would do so on a daily or weekly basis, so choose one of those options and then click the OK button.

After setting the recurrence pattern for the metric, you have to decide whether you want Achieve Planner to remind you about tracking the Metric or not.

Checking the Has Reminder checkbox will let you schedule a daily reminder at a specific time.

The remaining two fields on the screen, Description and Reason allow you to describe the metric in more detail and specify why you want to keep track of this particular Metric.

Tracking Data For Your Metric

The Tracking tab helps you specify the type of metric that you are tracking and what kind of tracking information you want to maintain.

We’ll go over this tab in more detail in another article, but for now, we are going to focus on the Type, Question and Units.

From the Type combo, we are going to select Total because we want to track our total weight (current weight) over time.

Next is the Question, where you can type a question that the Metric will ask you when it’s time to input data.  Let’s go with “What is my weight today?”

Next, we’ll define the Units, which simply serve as a reminder of the units of measurement you are tracking. You can use Pounds, Kg or anything else you like.

Once you are finished, click the Save and Close button.  You should now be back at the Metrics tab, with your new Metric showing on the screen.

So far, we’ve only set up the Metric so that we can start to keep track of it. In future articles, you’ll learn how to enter tracking data, how to set target values you want to reach and how to use other types of metrics.