I’ve been thinking more about systems for success recently.

Adopting a framework is generally the best path to success.  In building a successful startup, you can holy-war over what the framework should be (e.g. Viability, Feasibility, or Desirability), but at the end of the day any framework is better than no framework. Building a successful life is no different.

This thought is something I’ve discovered while I’ve been exploring a framework for personal success the past few months (standards project), and I’ve executed some experiments in quantifying my life:

  1. In Iceland I tracked a ton of personal stats about our trip, all food/drink we consumed, how many steps we walked, etc.
  2. I tried Facet of Life to track data through email.
  3. I added health goals to my standards project, to keep track of promised outcomes.
  4. I used dailyburn/iPhone to track sleep, caloric consumption, stress, weight, exercise and energy levels on a daily or more frequent basis.

I like these experiments, I also really like tracking things — it appeals to my inner data-geek[1]. I’m competitive, so I feel a need to improve what I measure; I now unconsciously optimize for: Diet, Energy, Sleep, Exercise. Yep, pretty good list.

Experiment #3 above taught me a bit about how to build a framework that utilizes my own nature to increase the likelihood of good outcomes.

I realized that my tracking can be difficult when I don’t have control of food preparation. Standardizing my intake around a core group of meals would greatly help me spend less time concentrated on tracking. So I just choose 6 meals and ordered enough food to make them for 2 weeks from safeway.com — this wasn’t a difficult decision, it was an efficient one. It also improved my health. My framework made it easy to make a limiting choice that was positive on my health.

Lesson learned for my standards project: I will focus more on frameworks that utilize a desire to be awesome + a desire to conserve attention to encourage efficient/scalable improvement.

[1] It also offends my sense of uniqueness, none of us like to feel like we’re robots, and I feel a certain elegance to living life unpredictably. But, at least for me, growing up is about accepting that choosing to put yourself in a routine isn’t the same as having a routine thrust upon you.  Embracing chaos means remaining ever-vigilant, that’s hard. Choose routines that conserve energy, and use that energy for chosen moments of chaos embracing.