How do we take our own measure? Can we build a model of our own well-being? Is it possible to determine whether our practice makes us healthy, wealthy, and wise?
Time is our most precious and limited resource, so any such measure ought to include how we spend it. Time on task is the inertia of a habit. If you’ve been doing something for an hour every day, every year for the last ten years, then that habit has a tremendous amount of inertia and is going to be hard to move, one way or the other.
But time by itself doesn’t tell us what we’ve accomplished during our time on task. To address this issue I’ve been working on something I call a cycle. A cycle represents a completed task, or a completed step in a sequence of steps required to accomplish a goal.
A cycle will vary from domain to domain, and perhaps even within a domain. So for example, Ganpati Kriya calls for eleven minutes of chanting, so one cycle of Ganpati Kriya is eleven minutes. But Sat Kriya calls for 30 minutes of chanting, which I only do for five. Five minutes of Sat Kriya translates into about 0.17 cycles. My goal for a blog post is to write 250 words. So if instead I write 300 words, those translate into 1.2 cycles.
While this method isn’t perfect, the two measures of time on task and number of cycles completed give me a better idea of how my practice is going than time by itself.
I want to know what kind of impact my practice is having on my physical and emotional health. So I periodically measure my vital signs, and positivity ratio.
To measure our financial health I periodically calculate a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.
These measurements are an attempt to gather feedback from my practice, to make my practice more deliberate, and to insure my practice is taking me in the direction intended.