Tracking has become synonymous with spying. What information should I collect, why is it collected and what will I do with it.
First it should provide value to the readers
It sounds squishy and it is. In short, any data collected should do something for the consumer. In this case myself and my readers.
I recently added a paid version of Jetpack to my website for daily backups, anonymous viewing statistics and video hosting. As a result it brought along with it nearly a dozen third party trackers, Specifically 11 on my homepage. While I’m not thrilled at the number at least it’s clear who is tracking this information.
All 11 are domains are owned by Automattic and most are specifically heading to wp.com which redirects to WordPress.com and not a random advertisement or “service” relentlessly tracking your every move. Jetpack is a WordPress.com service so this looks good to me.
By providing basic statistics, I can now research whether a post is viewed or is mostly ignored.
So how does this provide value?
Google Plus didn’t care about my Coffee and Reading post where I shared it.
I didn’t properly tag the post’s subject “Getting Things Done” maybe that would have helped.
The post didn’t resonate, perhaps I should stick to Instagram coffee postings.
Readers of my website just don’t come here for this stuff.
No one is reading this.
Tracking should be anonymous and not follow people around
Don’t be creepy, if someone views your blog post the last thing they want to see are ads loosely related to the subject elsewhere tomorrow.
Tracking services should clearly describe what they collect, how they do it, and what it’s used for. I think Automattic does a good job on their Privacy Page. So lets give this a go and see if I can improve my site.
It might seem counter productive but least valuable activities should be manged and contained.
I know a professor who teaches a full schedule, writes regular articles and produces a book almost every year. I asked his spouse how he did it while remaining so responsive. It was simple, he limited his least valuable activities.
Discover your least valuable activities (LVA)
An LVA is low priority or generic unspecialized work. Basically anything anyone else can handle but somehow it was left to you to perform. First write down everything you get paid to do, if it helps assign a hourly wage value both above and below your hourly wage. Include zero for work that has no value but must be done.
Examples of my LVAs
Responding to calls, composing emails or similar activities
Unspecialized administrative work
Housekeeping or making coffee for the office 🙂
Gossip and interruptions
Sales calls and similar requests
Discover your least productive work times
I’m least productive when I arrive at work, half an hour after lunch and near the end of the day.
With this information we can schedule the lowest priority activities to keep them contained and blocked from interfering with valuable and specialized work.
Next, schedule them for no more than 25% of the day. This is my usual LVA routine.
Arrival at work and the first hour
Email, replies and similar activities
Chatting, gossip and available for likely interruptions
Administrative work and morning coffee
2pm or after lunch for a half hour
Review emails, voicemails or notifications and reply
Half an hour before end of work day
Review email and reply
Planning for tomorrow
Scheduling these hard blocks within 25% of the work day then actually performing these tasks is key. Once the allocated time has passed anything left unfinished is delayed to the next block.
This effectively batches busy work together reserving time for the real work to be performed during the other 75% of my day.