The Morning Ritual

Every morning it’s the same story with me. Boringly repetitively, predictable as the sun rising and inconceivable that I would fail to feed my habit. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I didn’t do it… but such thoughts are only very occasional and certainly never acted on.

But hey, we all have our rituals don’t we? Surly the only difference is how they manifest themselves?

Short on time and attention? I get it… [Take me to the short summary]

For me, it’s opening my business summary spreadsheet and manually updating the only two numbers that matter (to me): Revenue Month to date and Nett Profit Month to date. I religiously open Xero, run my daily ‘flash figures’ report and MANUALLY transpose those two numbers.

There is something curiously important in performing this seemingly low value manually process. It’s almost an intimacy of engagement with the data. Weird I know… And yet this daily act of “data intimacy” sets the tone for my day. It underpins what I prioritise and what I think about subconsciously. It maybe be ‘weird’ but it is also invaluable to how I manage my business and drive its success.

I have built dashboards. I know how to technically build software dashboards using a truly dazzling array of technologies. I have powered these dashboards using a variety of API’s. Without question I could ‘automate’ my business summary spreadsheet, and in full disclosure some parts of it are… But it would be inconceivable to imagine automating the update of the two key numbers. It would just be wrong.

But more than wrong, it would show a profound ignorance as to the role of these two numbers and the importance of the manual action. Yes this is about the absolute numeric value, but more important it is about understanding the difference between reading two numbers and interacting with them. And this underscores what is important about this daily routine, the behaviour, thinking and action it drives. A different spin on actionable data?

So there you have it, a little peek into my daily morning addiction. But it raises some (I think) interesting questions about how we understand different processes, and how we think about how humans interact with information.

It is surprising just how important manually typing two numbers ever morning actually is.

Take alway Messages

In brief:

– Focus on two or maximum three numbers that truly matter in your business. Engage with them every day. Without fail. Know them, understand them and have them at the centre of your daily actions and priorities.

– Just because you can does not mean you should. When it comes to automation and process enhancement this has never been truer. It is important to understand the importance of the human in a process and what the true purpose of a process is.