Secrets from the Data Cave, November 2013

Posted on November 25, 2013 | in Uncategorized | by CRC

by Sarah McCruden

Welcome to CRCs monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who dont know, the title references our room – fondly referred to as the bat cave— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what were implementing here at CRC!

November 2013: Why Im Switching to Decaf


Im kind of obsessed with tracking my progress to goals. And not just goals at work, or long-term goals in my personal lifeI mean little, day-to-day things. Ive even been known to track the amount of time I spend cleaning my apartment each day, because without documentation to keep me accountable, I would simply never clean. Obsessive, I know, but effective.

So I was super excited when I found this nifty website, which makes progress to a goal (or anything really) so easy to track that even non-data nerds are using it:

You just enter your email address on the AskMeEvery site, type in a question for whatever it is you wish to track (like, How many hours did I sleep last night? or How many miles did I run today?), and youll get daily emails or text messages asking your question. All you have to do is reply to the email/text, and it will track the data for you!

I decided to record my productivity at the end of each workday, which meant that around 4 pm Monday through Friday, Id get an email like this:


And after 2 weeks of this, I logged into the AskMeEvery site and it displayed my productivity ratings over time:


But the coolest part is that you can compare the results of multiple questions, and analyze them to see if there is a statistically significant correlation. So I tossed in another variable: how much coffee I had consumed each day.

And heres what I found*:


large effect

So it seems that the more coffee I drink, the LESS productive I become. And that is why I will be switching to decaf!

Check out and let us know if you learn anything about yourself, and Ill see you next month!

*Note: I realize that my methods are flawed here, but this is just for fun ;)