Gathering data

Stick with me beyond the fantasy football chat to see why observation is often the first step in decision making.

Over the past couple of years I’ve become a fantasy football addict. When I was a kid I used to play the game through the newspaper. It involved picking a team at the start of the season and then largely forgetting about it until the final league table was printed. Now, with the internet and a smartphone in hand I find myself thinking often about what transfer to make, who to captain and, on match days, how my team is performing.

This season has not started well for many and three weeks in a lot of managers have already played their wildcard. This allows you to make an unlimited number of transfers in a single gameweek, effectively scrapping your whole team and starting again. To use this feature so early in the season is a bold move.

The question of whether to wildcard or not is dominating discussion around the game. And the majority of pundits are calling for managers to have more patience. The main reason for this is that after two matches we just don’t have enough data to make an informed decision about which players to bring in.

If you’re still reading, you may be wondering what on earth this has got to do with anything. Well, it reminded me of something I often say to people I’m working with who are in the midst of making a decision or a change – the first action is to observe what’s going on now. Essentially to gather as much data as possible.

This is something I try to employ for myself too. For example, wanting to drag myself out of a sustained period of low moods I’ve been making regular check-ins and recording the factors that affect the highs and lows. Over a few weeks to a month it’s pretty easy to spot the patterns and see where I can make small changes in my environment or working day to help me experience more highs than lows.

Whatever you’re observing the tracking doesn’t need to be complex, a simple tally, table or 1-10 scale will do. The important thing is to give it time enough to see any patterns or trends emerge.


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