The Numbers Dance

ImageIf you work in a quantitative field there will come a time when numbers / text will just feel supremely overwhelming. I call this moment “The Numbers Dance”. Now the best thing one can do in this moment is walk away, some things you can do are:

  • Go outside
  • Get something to eat
  • Complete a home improvement project
  • Channel Surf
  • …or just sleep

To do any of the above you will have to make a serious effort to just walk away but it will serve you well in the long run. If you are on a deadline and walking away is not an option then keep reading for my tips and tricks.You will have to try to see what works for you, and most often it’s just about mind over body.

Visualize success: If you are on a project and get to ‘The Numbers Dance’ stage, take a moment to visualize your quantitative goal. Your quantitative goal is something like migrating data, sorting to derive top 2 or bottom 2 box data, preparing reports (the smart cookie would have this process automated). The idea is take out the qualitative and complete the quantitative, it’s not the finish line but having the tedious tasks done will help you get qualitative results when you wake up the next morning. (Sleep is the only thing that works after something like this.)

Suga-ri-fy Your Discomfort: If the quantitative approach will not get you to the finish line, then consume sugar (be aware of the crash coming in the next hour or two and work fast) also find the most uncomfortable seat possible. The floor is NOT the most uncomfortable seat as it makes a suitable bed in a crunch and your body will betray you. I recommend a bar stool, it keeps your feet off the ground and no back rest.

Join the Dance: This one is hard to explain but the idea is not to fight the fatigue but become part of it. Imagine numbers and field names jumping off your screen and doing the rumba with you. Guide them to where they need to be and sort them into the “Wow, what an amazing insight” layout. This approach is highly customized to your own brain chemistry so have fun while finishing things up. It might all seem a dream the next day but the data will prove you had a moment of nirvana.

Until next time,



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