Measure the Opposite

Chris J Terrell
2 min readJul 28, 2022
Photo by Sherman Yang on Unsplash

How is your role measured? How do you measure yourself? These are questions I asked myself this week. It is a New Year, and it is time for annual reviews and a time of reflection. So as I started reflecting on the past year and the new year ahead, I started thinking about what I measured, and it made me think about how I measured my daily work and realized I was measuring the wrong things.

Typically Measures

  • Number of meetings
  • Hours I worked
  • Emails received
  • Tasks completed

I usually don’t write these down, but instead, I make a mental note of whether I felt productive. But unfortunately, my success measurement of my day was how time-controlled me. Why? It was a bad habit that I didn’t think about. Until I did and came up with two realizations

  1. I don’t consciously know where I want to go most of the time.
  2. I measured the symptoms and did not have metrics to affect the actual problem.

These two realizations made me change what I measured. The first step was consciously figuring out what I wanted. I took some time because I wanted to make sure it was intentional. What I came up with was pretty simple.

Work on the most important things.

With my intention set, it was time to find suitable measures. Then I realized that working on essential things means measuring the opposites.

New measures (The Opposites)

  • Make a daily plan and measure how well I follow it
  • Timebox my calendar with blocks of time for the important work
  • Track injections. What stopped me from getting the important work done

These new measures were harsh. I noticed that I didn’t synchronize my daily plan with my highest priority. When I started identifying my high-priority items, I timeboxed the work in my calendar. Adding the calendar was easy. After a couple of days, I realized that I wasn’t finishing my highest priority items. They were planned, put in my calendar, and yet not completed. I got work done, but injections derailed my priority work. Sometimes the injection was getting simpler work done, and other times I was interrupted by instant messages.

It was bumpy as I started measuring the opposites. However, I started seeing progress by measuring the injections and protecting the calendar, and starting with a good plan, I started seeing progress. Best of all, I felt productive and had the metrics to show it was more than a feeling.