Things I Learned By Visualizing My Year

Many of us have set a New Year's resolution at one time in our lives.  With the start of the new year, I wanted to set some professional goals. Being in the information business, I knew I needed to eat my own dog food and conduct a deep analysis of 2017 before blindly throwing darts at the dartboard.  I gathered my data points and decided to break my year into quarters, focused on typical Monday - Friday workdays.

Just Another Manic Monday (But Not in January)

I classified my data with some simple buckets of how each day went.  The colors really started to help tell the story.  Clearly Mondays in January were a weak spot for the quarter.  They were all red indicating I was under my goal of 8 hours worked in a day.  This made sense given I was exploring my career options with interviews on Mondays, and New Years Day and MLK also fell on Mondays.  My Monday performance improved greatly in Q2 and Q3 as my career direction began to take shape.

Jan Mondays were all under goal but improved greatly starting in Q2

A Cruel Summer (But Lots of Time For Golf)

I enjoyed the summer months with my family.  Although we traveled more than ever before, I was still able to work on projects for my clients remotely.

Frisbee Golf in July with my kids Alex and Charlotte


Q4:  Everybody's Working For the Weekend

My job is ensure my clients are satisfied.  This can require working on the weekends.   The extra weekend hours were a big driver of the strong Q4.

Weekend Hours Worked By Month in 2017

The Big Picture

Looking at the entire year at a glance, several things stood out.  Days that I work, I often work more than 8 hours (33% Exceeded Goal).   I also learned that there is a lot of opportunity in 2018 with many weekdays under utilized (42%).   

The whole year at a glance is insightful.  It almost looks like a DNA strip.  You can clearly see a lot of red and white space.  Especially on Thursday and Friday.

2017 overall weekday metrics

2017 Progress Against Goals


Now that I had compiled data to look back at 2017, I could set some goals with hard numbers rather than "work more in 2018".  Here are some examples I came up with:

  • Spend more time serving clients by reducing non-project time from 42% to 35%
  • Increase hours available to clients on weekends in Q1 to minimum of 10 hours
  • Increase time serving clients with complete days on Thursday from 37% to 40% in 2018
  • Increase my availability to clients on Mondays in Q1 by 15%

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