Analytic Cold Turkey: A month on

I decided to go cold turkey from analytics partly as an experiment but partly because I was becoming obsessed with the numbers. This numeric obsession was something I had outlined as a behaviour that was non-conducive to healthy operations because the passion flows out if you get caught up in the minutiae. I covered an observation of this process in detail through this post.

cold-turkey-feature

In my log I may make mention of André Mafei. He is a large part of the Google Analytics community on Google+, this particular community is one that I find deeply interesting even though I’m a rather new observer of analytics tools in general.

THE LOG

1st August 2013

07:30 AM

My normal routine would have been to check my stats right about now. It seems horrible not being able to do that but I will proceed. I had no further problems today and no temptation in going to have a quick peak. I did about 2 hours of ironing (lucky me) which meant I was not around my laptop.

2nd August 2013

07:20 AM

I was very tempted this morning. I had to fight the metric urge. I went into the WP-Admin to sort out a few links on some of my past posts. I also wrote a response to André on Google+ about the topic. Eek!

09:01 AM

I was tempted again. This was mostly because I’m writing a Google Analytics Guide and the topic drives some temptation within me. Once more I have resisted! Give me a biscuit.

6th August 2013

16:38 PM

I want a look right NOW!!! Ahhhhhh!!!! I’ve fended off the urge since the 2nd but I want to look. Resist (not resistance is futile).

14th August 2013

08:55 AM

So far so good, I have had very few instances of wanting to check in the last couple of days. I noticed a little spike in my Dashboard stats that appears at the top when in WordPress sorting out my site’s pages but otherwise I am still good (I didn’t peer further). I’ve been interacting less in the GA community on G+ which has been advantageous. Also André has toned down the number of analytics posts he has written recently which has been a godsend. I’m nearly halfway through the month.

15th August 2013

08:04 AM

I really wanted a parity check today to see how my month was going so far. I had a bit of a light week last week and this week has been a bit slow. Access Denied.

16th August 2013

18:20 PM

I had a breach, a moment of weakness if you will, I was wrestling whether it was actually an incursion or not on my Cold Turkey but it definitely was. I looked at my stats via the WordPress dashboard (big mistake). At least I know that people have been looking. Fortunately I haven’t compounded the issue by using Google Analytics again. I return back to the cold turkey a bit disappointed in my lack of willpower having undone all my good work up until this point.

ACTL2013SEPT

The temptation!!

25th August 2013

15:30 PM

I have breached the cold turkey well and truly. I looked initially at the dashboard, Google Analytics and other site stats. I’m happy to say that visitors still arrive. This goes some way to prove that “analytics watching”(a bit like clock watching) is not very productive.

25th – 30th August 2013

I had well and truly breached the Cold Turkey with approximately 8 cold turkey incursions including WordPress Stats, Google Analytics, AWstats and Webalizer. The exception was during a Stag-do weekend where I spent time with 11 gents including my future brother-in-law. That was a great weekend but 440 miles and 7 hours 10 minutes of driving combined left me feeling tired.

Conclusion

I found that I did have more time to devote to fixing certain elements of the site that I was unhappy about, I also learnt that traffic was coming through without my intervention which is a good thing. One thing that was a problem was that I’d lost sight of keeping up a sensible posting rhythm and as such I haven’t had as many views as a result. Otherwise it was a worthwhile experiment which allowed me to recoup a fair bit of personal time to tackle other projects.

I would recommend an analytic vacation if you are losing sight of your content and need to get things done. It is very easy to get caught up in the numbers but as Vilfredo Pareto might say; 20% of the cause effects 80% of the symptoms, so what you look at on analytics has to be worthwhile and more importantly, targeted.

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