Staying up to date with daily status emails
A couple months ago, I noticed I followed the same routine every morning when I got to work: I sat down at my desk, hooked up my laptop and opened about ten different analytics dashboards. That may seem like a lot, so here's a breakdown:
- Google Analytics for analyzing web traffic (including page views, ad traffic, referrals, and load times) as well as app usage.
- Our log viewer to spot errors and warnings.
- Twitter for keeping track of followers, favorites, and retweets.
- Our API dashboard to make sure that it's performing well and to see if anything is out of the ordinary.
- Google Play for reviews, search position, and installs.
- Our family account dashboard to see the number of new families, percent of families retained, active families in the past month, and total number of families.
- Facebook Insights for keeping tabs on likes and social reach.
- Our usage dashboard to see aggregate usage statistics like the most popular apps launched from the Sandbox.
During the first half hour at work, I wouldn't do any actual work. I'd just pore over analytics and flip between dashboards. Everyone else in the office had a similar routine.
I figured we could do better. I thought about setting up a real-time dashboard with all the pertinent information, but quickly scrapped that as we'd probably stare at it all day. Instead of real-time, I went the other way and decided on daily status emails: all the things we checked in every morning, condensed into one email.
They started off simple, with just a few important numbers and links to all the aforementioned dashboards. Over the course of a week, I added more stuff and tweaked the format until the links weren't necessary any more; the email provided everything we needed to know.
The boost in productivity was great. Instead of wasting half an hour every morning, we could skim an email over breakfast. That's not all, though. Having a log of emails made it easy to look back and see how things were doing yesterday or last week.
If you spend a chunk of your morning staring at dashboards, look into developing a daily status email instead. It's probably less work than you think, and it will save you time in the long run.