Having control over your life – professional or personal – means managing those things that you can and keeping a close eye on the things you can’t. Both modes involve a certain degree of data. Keeping track of income and expenses, following the weather reports on the path of the hurricane, monitoring progress against your to-do list – these are all data. We have become increasingly reliant on those things we can measure, or quantify. But data doesn’t tell the whole story. Even when there is a ton of it. There is always the context to consider and data does not inherently have context. For example, if you track your budget and your bank statement or work report tells you that you have more money than you’ve spent you could conclude you have money to spend. But the report or statement doesn’t know about the extra refrigerator you now need because your daughter moved back in with you. Or your decision to bike to work every day and sell your car. The future depends on many things, and not all of them are quantifiable. View this TED Talk to hear a longer exploration of this important constraint.
There is a lot of value to measuring. And to using this data to help inform your decisions and gauge your success against your goals. So use County data, use data at home. But avoid the trap of thinking the data has all the answers.