Blog >
The Benefit of Self-Monitoring


The Benefit of Self-Monitoring

Jeremy Greenberg shares an article published on that offers three ways we can improve our performance through self-monitoring. 

Tens of millions of us — two thirds of all American full-time workers — are now working from home. This often means we’ve had little direct supervision or oversight in months, away from our colleagues’ (and our boss’s) watchful eye.

That may feel nice… but data shows that we perform better when we know we’re being observed. For example, in a study of 40,000 Virgin Atlantic flights conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, one group of captains was told that their fuel performance was being monitored, and the other group was not. The captains who knew they were being observed had better fuel efficiency throughout takeoff, flight, and landing. The principle that direct observation improves work performance is commonly known as the “Hawthorne effect.”

I’ve thought a lot about this lately, because I developed a podcast called Follow the Leader. I recorded a CEO during a pivotal moment in his business, and he later told me that the direct observation helped him focus. “I was more reflective and poised than I would have been having done this on my own,” said the CEO, Taymur Ahmad, of the company Actnano. Interesting! So how can we all gain that benefit, even if we don’t have a boss (or podcaster) watching?

Here are three ways.

  1. Add self-observation to your routine

If nobody’s watching us, then we need to watch ourselves. We can’t let life and work become a blur, with each day blending into the next. To improve productivity and reduce stress, grab a notebook and start taking notes on what you’re doing, how it’s going, and how you’re feeling.

Don’t know where to start? Make a list of your main goals before each week, and then track what is accomplished by the end. This practice is beneficial in several ways. It helps reduce the pressure we put on ourselves by demonstrating that we did more than we probably thought. Because we’re able to look back on our work, we can identify what is working well and what is not. We can also identify problems, such as spending too much time on low-priority items or overemphasizing our perceived failures.


Key points include:

  • Identifying goals
  • Establishing accountability partners
  • Going public


Read the full article, You Work Better When You’re Being Watched. Here’s How To Monitor Yourself, on