Baseline vs. Target

How many words do you write each day? If you don’t have a clear and precise number, the answer is zero.

To make progress on any metric, you need a baseline.

To create a baseline, you need a measurement system. For instance, if you’re trying to measure the words you write daily, you could have a spreadsheet to log your daily word count.

Once you collect metrics, define your baseline. You could sum your daily word count for the last month and divide it by 30 days to find your average output. Let’s say it’s 250 words per day.

Using this baseline, set the desired target. You could aim for 500 words per day when planning for the next month. At the month’s end, compare your performance against the target. If you didn’t hit 500 words but were consistently writing 450, maybe you could spend a few extra minutes each day to achieve it. Or, if you missed your target by a lot, reconsider next month’s target.

Most metrics are iterative: Create a baseline, set a target, and get results. The results inform your new baseline and inspire a new target.