When will today's rainstorm arrive?
I live in Portland, Oregon, so I'm used to the rain. Most of my life, I haven't needed to pay much attention to the weather forecast. If it's July or August, sunshine is probably a safe bet. If it's any other month, you can pretty much expect some rain.
But that all changed for me in March, 2020. I decided that my best way to stay healthy during the lockdown was to take a walk as many days of the week as possible.
I figured out a route through my neighborhood that doesn't make me tackle any huge hills, mostly keeps me away from busy streets, and where I run into very few people. (I like seeing people in general, but the Covid dance of figuring out who's switching to the other side of the road stresses me out sometimes.)
And, all of a sudden, it matters A LOT for me to know when to expect a rainstorm.
I can still take a walk in the rain, and I often get rained on in the middle of my walk, but it's a lot harder to get myself out the door in the middle of a downpour.
So, I'm making some adjustments:
- I'm figuring out which weather app does the best job of predicting the next rain shower. (For me, it's Weather Underground right now.)
- I'm learning how to interpret the radar, so I can estimate how long it will take for the big green blob to make it to my neighborhood.
- I'm noticing when my predictions (or the app's predictions) are wrong, and adjusting my estimates accordingly.
- I'm stocking up on gear so I'm prepared for a rainy walk when it can't be avoided.
I was thinking about all these things on my walk the other day, and it occurred to me that leaders are trying to do something similar to prepare for the unexpected, especially this year.
- Exploring tools that help them better see what's going on. (For example, people are looking into Janet and Power BI as a way to understand and use their Credible EHR data.)
- Looking for patterns that can be used to forecast what to expect in the future. (I've been helping agencies with reports to make finances and operations easier to really see.)
- Tracking data to see if what happens matches expectations. (I'm seeing folks working to get data in the hands of people who understand what might be causing differences.)
- Preparing for a variety of outcomes. (People are using data to see how changing different variables might impact other areas of the agency.)
I don't mind a rainy walk now and then, and I'm prepared for those, but I do feel a tiny sense of regret when I miss the chance for a walk in between the rainstorms.
The non-rainy walks are just kind of magical, especially when I sneak one in on a mostly rainy day.
I feel like I've kind of beaten the system, and that I've taken advantage of the best time of the day. I know I'm lucky to have the opportunity for these moments of self-care. And I treasure them.
I also like feeling a little bit more of a sense of control in a year that is pretty unpredictable.
What are you hoping to understand and predict a little more for the coming year? Have you felt the urge to take some of these steps?
If there's any way that I can support you, please let me know!