Here are my self-care “results” from 2013. Quick review:
- My self-care dashboard is a way of tracking personal practices to keep me healthy, high-performing, and sane.
- Practices tracked: Playing basketball, working out (other than basketball, including one-hour or longer walks), taking non-weekend play days, not checking work email after weeknight dinners, not checking work email on weekends.
- Everytime I do one of the above, I get a point. I total up my points once a week. There is a theoretical maximum of 25 weekly points, but that’s completely unrealistic. My “ideal” steady state is 10 points per week.
I started tracking in 2012 and found that my four-week rolling average was the best way of tracking my current state of self-care. For example, if I did most of my practices regularly for three weeks, then had a week where I only did one or two, my four-week rolling average would still be relatively high. Conversely, if I had several bad weeks in a row, then had one week where I hit my “ideal” number of 10, I’d still have a relatively low four-week rolling average.
Here are my 2013 rolling averages (in blue) as compared to 2012:
- Overall, I did a much better job of taking care of myself in 2013 than in 2012. My rolling average never hit zero in 2013, and it hit 9 at its peak — double my peak in 2012.
- My numbers were up in all five categories this year except for working out, which saw a slight downturn. However, I played twice as much basketball this year than last, and I’m in far better shape right now than I was a year ago.
- The biggest increases were due to me turning off work email. From April through August, I wasn’t working in the traditional sense, which explains the huge improvement. In August, I “officially” launched Changemaker Bootcamp. Later in the month, I started a project with the Garfield Foundation. My rolling average actually dipped below 2012 levels in that time period, again largely due to email. In October, I recognized the trend and adjusted, which led to my numbers going back up to peak 2012 levels, but not to peak 2013 levels.
- The graphs are cyclical in both 2012 and 2013, and there seem to be some peaks and valleys in common. Some of it is coincidental. In April and May of both 2012 and 2013, I traveled quite a bit — for work in 2012 (where the dip was more unpleasant), for play in 2013 (where the dip was largely incidental).
- I think my line will always be cyclical, given my personality and lifestyle. I’m good with that. However, I’d like a smaller amplitude, and I’d like the overall average to be closer to 10 than it is right now.
Bottom line: I took much better care of myself this year than last, but I have a ways to go before I hit the right balance. 2014 will be a good test as to whether I’m making systemic improvements, or whether my gains this year were more a reflection of me taking a break. I feel good about it being the former, but we’ll see. Either way, I’m happy about how 2013 went.
You can learn more about how I do my tracking at Faster Than 20. If you’re using my spreadsheet for your own tracking, please let me know how it’s going! If you’d like help getting setup, drop me an email or leave a comment below.