A sleep-deprived perspective on data tracking

I’m back from maternity leave! 

I’ve always had great admiration for parents and caregivers, and after almost two months with a newborn, that respect has grown ten-fold! 

Parenting (especially without much sleep) is tough work. 

While I was out, I had a few discussions with data-minded colleagues and read some articles about tracking data about the baby’s behaviors to help understand their habits and establish better routines. 

Of course, that’s pretty intriguing for me, since that’s essentially what my business is about. 

But I found that my pajama-clad, sleep-deprived self was too overwhelmed to even begin to set up a new spreadsheet. 

Me! Couldn’t handle a spreadsheet! (I know, I’m just as shocked and bewildered.)

In that moment, before I collapsed on the sofa to take a nap, I had a realization. 

For many overworked, overwhelmed, and exhausted educators — the ones who are giving their all, day-in and day-out, for their kids and families — they may not have the brain space or energy to even begin to take on something new. 

In my work, I’ve tried to break it down, provide simple strategies, and offer encouragement to those who were unsure about where to begin with tracking their family engagement data. 

But I didn’t factor in that people may not have room left for a new skill or for tracking details of their work in ways that are unfamiliar to them. 

For example, my husband and I keep a notebook where we log how much our daughter eats and when. Yet this is purely for survival – otherwise, we simply can’t remember!

It reminds me of the piles of sign-in sheets I used to have when I was a Community School Coordinator. The data’s all there, but I didn’t always know what to do with it. 

I have also thought about tracking her sleep and wake windows in an attempt to get her to sleep better at night. 

In my head, I have grand visions of a Gantt chart where I’d color-code each time block of the day. 

Want to know how far I’ve gotten?

One note to myself on my phone. SIGH. I gave up.

Pre-baby, I would have had the entire spreadsheet designed and in use within an hour. 

So if you’re reading this and you have aspirations of being more data-driven but have struggled to find the bandwidth to get there, I see you.

While of course, I wish that I would have gotten significantly more sleep over the past eight weeks, I am grateful for this new insight.

I look forward to using my new perspective to inform how I work with educators whose attention – rightfully so – is on educating children and engaging families.