Mindful Metrics: Navigating Your Personal KPIs

This week’s newsletter is all about KPIs, also known as Key Performance Indicators, but with a twist. Don’t wait until you’ve reached your break-even point, check in with your mental health each month. 

It’s the end of January, and that means it’s time to reconcile your books, evaluate your goals, and figure out where you are spending your time and money so far this year. It’s no secret that by now most people have already abandoned the goals that they set for themselves. 

If you’re doing monthly KPIs for your business, why not do them for yourself? 

Monthly KPIs can feel like a real struggle especially if you aren’t making a profit or you haven’t hit your goals, sometimes it can be super triggering for me. I can feel disappointed and I become really hard on myself, which leads to comparison with other owners/ businesses and then the spiral happens….

You need to realize your break-even point. In finance, your break-even point is the point at which the total cost and total revenue are equal. Since I don’t want to write a newsletter about finance, we are talking about a break-even point of your time and your money. Understanding where you want to spend your money and where you want to spend your time is equally as important for your mental health. 

Asking yourself: “is this something I should spend my time” or “is this something I should spend my money to outsource” is a great start.

Story Time:

My calendar is chaos. Our kids are in two different schools with two different school calendars. It’s beyond confusing, and I know I’ve taken on way too much with business and work stuff (time.) We’d gone out of town multiple times within a week and I was so glad to be back at home doing nothing.

One kid started back to school from holiday break one day and a few days later the other one started…here’s what happened and you can probably guess it - I mixed up the dates. One kid went back on the right day and I thought the other one started on a Tuesday. Well Monday morning, the kid slept in, we made breakfast dropped the other one off at school. I sat down Monday morning to go through my email inbox with a note from the teacher that said, “See you on Monday.”

You can guess how that made me feel - so I dropped my kid off at school on their first day back about 2 hours late. Wow. The mom guilt of not knowing the first day of school really got me. It was a breaking point for asking for more help at home.   

Let’s talk business story:

What’s something in your business that can take up a lot of space financially and mentally? I can answer here: The wrong hire! Over the past few years, I’ve made a lot of bad decisions when it comes to letting employees get away with certain things. I hit my breaking point - where the capacity of my mental load and the amount of complaining I was doing was way out of balance compared to other employees. A lot of times I just hoped that certain people would just get the hint, or I didn’t think some of the things were THAT bad. But, the pile-up was real. 

It honestly doesn’t matter if you’re a small business owner or a manager in a corporate office, the load of taking care of employees and making sure you don’t have to fire them is a heavy one. One of the takeaways from firing people is also holding myself accountable - I’ll leave this for another newsletter….

The Time Vs Money Mental Load & Breaking Point

According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, about 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to about 48% of non-entrepreneurs. In a similar study by Small Biz Silver Lining about 56% of entrepreneurs have actually been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or stress-related problems by a doctor or mental health professional.

Hi, I’m Erin Cummings, your friend in Entrepreneurship, and I’m one of those people. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, and I have anxiety and I’m recovering from PTSD. I’m not ashamed to say I take medication for my mental health, and I see my therapist weekly. 

When your unintended mantra is “It’s all up to me,” it’s hard to ask for help when you need it. 

Take a Reality Inventory: Using KPIs for a mental health check 

Most businesses use the following KPIs to track monthly or quarterly goals:

  1. Revenue Growth
  2. Revenue per Client
  3. Profit Margin
  4. Client Retention
  5. Customer Satisfaction

Let’s turn this into KPIs for our personal goals and growth. Personally, I prefer to use the categories of Productivity, Creativity, Movement, and Purpose. If you’ve used my book The Possibility Project, you already know this…and you can choose whichever categories best suit your values. I turned the common business KPIs into personal KPIs to help you get started. I included some questions you can ask yourself, and maybe these will help you spark new questions to ask of yourself and help you evaluate and realign your goals for the year. 

Take a reality inventory of the following personal KPIs for the month of January:

1. Time Investment Alignment - This measures the effectiveness of one’s time allocation by assessing the degree to which activities align with personal and work priorities.

 Ask yourself: “Where are you spending too much of your time?” In the words of David Beckham, “BE HONEST.” 

2. Self-Value Amplification - This measures the quantifiable increase in personal value achieved by efficiently delegating tasks and recognizing and leveraging individual strengths. 

Ask yourself: What tasks can you delegate that cost someone else less money to do? What task can you do that adds value because you’re the expert? Also asking yourself what your strengths and weaknesses were this month can help with these questions. 

3. Energy Margins - This represents the balance between energy expended on different activities and what you have left in the tank by indicating the capacity to sustain your personal well-being and prevent burnout. 

Ask yourself: What self-care practices did you put into place so that time depletion and finances don’t lead to burnout or neglect? As unsexy as monthly KPIs are, it’s actually a form of self-care for you and your business. 

4. Connection Sustainability Index - This measures the emotional well-being and depth of personal relationships by assessing the effectiveness of your boundaries and he intent to cultivate meaningful connections.

Ask yourself, Where do you need to add boundaries with clients, friendships, family members, and even yourself? Who is pushing their limits, who do you want to deepen a connection with, and who are you grateful for?

5. Passion Alignment Score - This measures your personal satisfaction and fullfillment by evaluating the alignment of daily activities with personal passion, values, and purpose.

Ask yourself, What is one thing you did this month that filled you up? If you can’t answer this question, remember to do things that make you feel good, move your body every day if you can, and for the love of god drink f*cking water. 

Just like regular KPIs many of these are linked together, you may notice if one starts to slow or lower, so will another. It's magnetic, it’s a connection, and it’s all about being honest with yourself. 

If you’re already drowning in the first month of the year, how much longer until you reach your breaking point and if it’s not very far away, it’s time to take action. Create a new goal of reflecting on your personal KPIs each month, starting now. Self-care isn’t just a buzzword, it’s an essential practice for you and your business. I’d love to hear if this is something you already practice or if you do complete the personal KPIs I’d love to hear how it impacted you. 

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