The Jim Collins Life Improvement Technique You Can Try Right Now

Recently, acclaimed management expert Jim Collins appeared on Tim Ferriss’s podcast. Jim’s the author of Good to Great and several other books that focus on the study of how companies grow and ultimately what factors lead to them succeeding or failing.

Jim Collins | Source:

Not surprisingly, Jim is a bit of a “tracker.” He described how he tracked his sleep data for the better part of 10 years as a way to learn how to get the rest he needed. As he admits, that might not be for everyone. But one thing that he does recommend is a daily three-part tracking routine that is easy for anyone to utilize.

If you haven’t listened to the podcast, we definitely recommend it. There’s a lot of gems covering life philosophy and approaches that can be used in both life and business. But we’re going to do a bit of a spoiler and provide Jim’s three-part daily tracking routine right here.

Jim’s Daily Tracking

Jim mentioned that he tracks three things each day:

  • Notes describing what he did during the day
  • The number of hours he spent doing creative work during the day
  • A -2 to +2 score of how he felt the day went, -2 being a bad day, +2 being a great day
life tracker via web platform
Once setup, you can easily log your day through our app or our web platform (shown)

That’s the basic setup. Jim focuses on creative work because he views that as particularly valuable in building long-term value based on his experience and research. This may not apply in every line of work, but is a big factor for the success of any side project or entrepreneurial effort.

Lastly, Jim uses the -2 to +2 as a way to connect the previous two measures to a fairly qualitative measure of his happiness: by looking at what he did on +2 days he can figure out what really makes a great day and try to do more of it, and vice-versa for -2 days.

Jim also has a stated goal with his creative hours: he tries to keep this at 1,000 or more over any 365 day stretch – essentially trying to devote ~20 hours per week towards creative work. In his case though, the longer time horizon gives him some flexibility about where and when this creative time occurs, as it may not be practical to hit 20 hours each week.

Do you want to follow Jim’s daily tracking routine? Fortunately, this is very easy to setup in WeAchieve!

Set it up in WeAchieve!

From the “Activities” Tab in the app, you are able to create a new activity. When you do, you’ll be prompted to select a data source. Choose “Track Manually” as shown below, then choose the “Create Custom Activity” at the top of the page. After that, you can name it “Jim Collins Daily Tracker,” choose an icon, and click continue.

creating a new activity in weachieve

Once you do that, you can tap on the activity and will be able to add metrics to the activity. We can add three: a text field for your notes on the day, and two numeric metrics for creative hours and your assessment of the day. Once done, it’ll look like this:

weachieve life tracking - with three metrics

Finally, you may want to set a goal for your creative hours. It’s also fine to hold off on this and track for a bit so that you can get a baseline and set a reasonable target. If you do set a goal, 1,000 hours for the year probably isn’t the best place to start. Short-term goals are best for establishing habits (while long-term are used to maintain). As such, you may want to set a goal of 10 hours per week for the first few weeks before increasing your targets, or just track without a goal in order to get a benchmark for you to improve off of.

setting up a basic routine in weachieve
Here is a 10-hour per week goal, but you can easily customize it to fit your needs.

Lastly, you will almost certainly want a reminder to fill it in each day. Jim notes the importance of doing it literally every day: if you wait a few days memories become hazy, notes become hurried, and your assessment will not give a clear representation. Set a reminder using WeAchieve for a reasonable time each night to devote 3-5 mins to logging your day, and we’ll remind you only if you haven’t yet logged your day.

create reminders using weachieve
a finished reminder in weachieve

And that’s it! You are on your way to becoming the next Jim Collins and selling millions of books*, or just living a better, more informed life!

*Actual results may vary

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