Here’s a great way to measure your level of joy

In my last article I shared the first nugget of wisdom I took away from Tim Ferriss’ recent podcast episode with Good to Great author Jim Collins: Put Butter on Your Waffles.

The second nugget I took away from that interview is Collins’ method of measuring the quality of his days. For years, Collins has used an Excel spreadsheet to rate every single day. The rating scale is:

  • +2 is a great day
  • +1 is a good day
  • 0 is a ‘meh’ day
  • -1 is a net negative day
  • -2 is a bad day

Each day he adds some notes about what happened that day to give some justification for his daily score. The notes allow him to search the text from time to time to find trends as to what makes for a great day or a bad day. With that data, he can set goals to focus more on what makes for a good day, and avoid what makes for a bad day.

Of course, this isn’t a foolproof method to avoid bad days – but it is a great tool create more good days than bad.

Another application for this daily rating tracking system is that it’s a method to measure the level of joy in your life. My clients and followers will know that enjoyment is one piece of the “triple bottom line” pie that I encourage business owners to focus on (the others are profit and impact). But joy isn’t always easy to measure.

Collins’ system is a great way to measure enjoyment. As the adage goes:

How we spend our days is, of course, how spend live our lives.

Annie Dillard

Enjoying our days is the key to enjoying our lives. The daily -2 to +2 rating scale is a simple and effective way to measure that.

After hearing about Collins’ system, I set a quarterly goal to establish a daily rating habit and to have an average daily rating greater than 1 for the quarter.

I am pleased to say that I achieved the first part of the goal. I implemented the rating system at the start of the year and I am now in the habit of rating the prior day each morning, and adding notes about what happened that led to the particular rating. It has taken the place of my journaling practice, since the notes are a mini journal of sorts. (I am not sure at this point if my longer form journaling practice will make a comeback).

As to whether I achieve the second part of the goal, time will tell. I had a good mix of good and great days in January, only a handful of meh days, and just one net negative day. So I like the trend.

If you’re looking to measure and increase the level of enjoyment in your business and overall life, I encourage you to give Collins’ system a shot. And if you have a different way to measure joy, I’d love to hear about it.

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