Is it important or is it easy? – I believe there’s magic in that phrase. This simple question can do wonders for fixing your time-management issues and ensuring your efforts are aligned with your priorities.

In order to set a goal, monitor progress, even validate that a goal has been accomplished, one must have some sort of metric or standard. I’m amazed how much information we collect and analyze, and how little substantive progress we sometimes make.

I’m convinced the reason we measure a lot of small impact drivers is because they’re easy to measure. Meanwhile, we avoid some of the important things because they’re difficult. A financial example of this is the importance we place on memberships, subscriptions, registrations, sale prices, sale weights, costs per ton, etc. Yet we often neglect to calculate return on investment, feed efficiency, compositions of gains, customer satisfaction, membership enthusiasm and passion, and the like because they’re more difficult to measure.

As a seedstock producer, I’m a huge advocate of utilizing EPDs; they have been and will continue to be our most important tool for making genetic progress. Still, we all know people who have been faithful in using them in their selection program, with marginal results. While they made progress in their selected traits, mature size, fleshing ability, structural correctness, fertility, disposition, udder quality or a host of other factors got out of balance in the process, thus negating the positive impacts. Their genetic decisions ultimately were made on what was easy to find instead of what was truly important.

The story of how VHS beat out Betamax in the video marketplace has become a business axiom. The lesson is that that the Beta folks had all the stats and were superior in everything they measured, but they failed to understand that the really important factor in determining success was early and rapid acceptance in the marketplace. Meanwhile, VHS wasn’t lucky; they just understood the key ingredient to achieving success in the marketplace.

We should all take a hard look at what we’re measuring and ask ourselves if we are measuring and using that information because it’s easy or because it’s important? There is a difference.