Your North Star Metric

A few weeks ago, I wrote about post called Minutes on Court (2 min read), which was centred around the idea of moments that count more than others.

The post you're about to read is somewhat of a follow up to that.

It's inspired by an idea that I've known about for some time, except I've only known about the idea in the context of work.

The idea is the North Star Metric (Another 2 min read).

I've recently been thinking about what it might be like to apply this idea to my personal life.

Here's a definition, from the article above:

"The North Star Metric is the single metric that best captures the core value that your product delivers to customers."

Then further on in the article, there's this:


"To uncover your North Star Metric you must understand the value your most loyal customers get from using your product."

In thinking about what this might look like in my personal life, I recalled an interview I heard with Jim Collins where he shared what I think is a perfect example of this.

I'll summarize what he said in a second, but if you want to get the full idea, open the interview transcript here and search for the term: creative hours.

In the interview, Jim shared his practice of tracking how he spends his time.

He breaks down his time into three buckets, but for the purposes of this post, the bucket that matters most is the one he tries to spend the most time in: creative hours.

His goal is to always be above 1,000 creative hours in any 365 day period.

He has managed to achieve this goal consistently for over 30 years.

Let's go back to the definition and the process to uncover the North Star Metric from earlier.

Here's my attempt to translate it from a business context to a personal one:

Your North Star Metric is the single metric that best captures the core value that you deliver to your community. To uncover your North Star Metric you must understand the value that your community gets from interacting with you.

I intentionally picked a vague word like community here.

The reason being, I think it's important for you to define it for yourself.

As you think about this, you might have different North Star Metrics for different communities that you care deeply about.

Your North Star Metric for your work self might be different than the one you have as a partner, or a parent, or a friend.

I've come this far in the post without really telling you why I think the idea of a North Star Metric is even worth pursuing.

Well, the Minutes on Court post I referred to at the beginning is a start, but let me explain further.

Your time is valuable.

The idea of a North Star Metric is important because it might help you understand how to use your time, in order to multiply its value.

As usual, there is a lot more left to explore with this, and as is often the case with things I write, I am currently exploring this for myself.

For now, I will leave it here.

dark blue background with a white star in the centre