Every February on diamond geezer I keep myself busy by counting things. Ten different counts, to be precise, in a stats-tastic 28-day feature called The Count. On the off-chance that you haven't been following my daily graphical updates on Daytum, it's now time to reveal some of the results of my month-long survey. A few today, the rest tomorrow. I know this is a bit premature because the final results won't be confirmed until midnight tomorrow, so for now the figures are best estimates. But I'll come back and update them later once the final data is known.
Count 1 (Blog visitors): Up 4000 visitors on last year? Excellent. And I don't fully understand why. I keep a careful eye on my visitor numbers and they're usually pretty static, apart from an unexpected step change about six months ago, since when totals have shifted up a bit. Formerly less than 1000 readers a day, now normally just over. And that's without taking RSS feeds into account, because they make all this readership data increasingly unrepresentative anyway. Ditto external linkage, which is why February's figures for several years past have often been completely out of kilter. But 2010's looking good, and I have you to thank for that. Total number of visits to this webpage in February 2010: 30264 (2003: 2141) (2004: 6917) (2005: 9636) (2006: 42277) (2007: 23082) (2008: 32006) (2009: 26048)
Count 2 (Blog comments): See, I knew it. Blog commenting has peaked, it peaked a while back, and now we're on the long slippery slope back to inactivity. People used to comment more, and now they comment less. Either I'm more dull than I used to be, or my readers aren't as keen to respond. I hope it's not the former. I think not. My blogging output's been fairly consistent over the past few years, and I don't think I'm being any more boring (or less provocative) than I used to be. Instead I can only point a finger at the online competition, be that Twitter, Facebook or whatever community you lot spent all your time in these days. Writing comments on blogs is old school, like sending a letter to the local paper, noticed by increasingly few as each year goes by. Go on, just look at the figures at the bottom of this paragraph, they sum up the rise and fall of blogging more succinctly than anything I can write. Total number of comments on this webpage in February 2010: 396 (2003: 166) (2004: 332) (2005: 463) (2006: 648) (2007: 566) (2008: 504) (2009: 472)
Count 3 (Blog content): I'm always convinced every year that I'm writing far more on my blog than I was twelve months ago. And I'm usually right. This turns out to be my most prolific February yet, and that's on top of a leap in output last year too. I'm now averaging more than 750 words a day, at which rate it only takes a few months to add up to the length of a short novel. I don't know when to stop, that's my problem. I always mean to keep it succinct, but then there's something extra I want to add and before I know where I am I've written another daily essay. More words, more research, more waffle, more time. You'd still read this blog if I wrote a bit less, but something inherently anti-social keeps driving me to write a bit more. Maybe I need to cut back a little bit. Total number of words in diamond geezer in February 2010: 21595 (2003: 14392) (2004: 16214) (2005: 16016) (2006: 15817) (2007: 17102) (2008: 17606) (2009: 20602)
Count 4 (Work/life balance): I introduced this category for the first time last year, comparing work, rest and play. So not only can I can stare at the latest figures and go "blimey, do I really spend that much of my time doing that?", I can also check to see if anything's changed. Daytum provides a fascinating way to visualise my February as a lovely purplish pie chart, reproduced here, and 2010's graph has turned out to be really quite similar to 2009. And, I suspect, very different to how your pie chart would look. Top left, that's work. I work about a quarter of the time. That may not sound much - it's an average of just over six hours a day - but it's still more than I'm contracted to do. I may have worked 12 hours solid yesterday, but that's the exception, and all those extra hours are easily cancelled out by me not working weekends. I'm working harder than last year, so it seems, but work still only devours about 25% of my life. Good job, eh? Top right, that's sleep. I sleep about a quarter of the time. That's, erm, quite low isn't it? It's an average of just under six hours a day - and that's down by about a quarter of an hour since last year. Is this normal? I'm sure most people need far more than six hours or they keel over. Me, I don't even need a cup of coffee in the morning to perk me up. Just as well, because if I went to bed at ten every night I'd never get this blog written. But it's not normal, it can't be normal. Right hand side, that's travel. I spend only 7% of my time on the move, getting from one place to another. Most of this is getting to and from work, and the rest comes from careering around town (and country) at the weekend. Leaves plenty of time for... Big chunk at the bottom, that's play. By which I mean it's everything that isn't sleep, work or travel. It's all the hours I have at my disposal to do with what I want. It's eating, blogging, socialising, visiting, tellying, slobbing, that sort of thing. It's me time. And oh yes, it's almost half my life. A little less than last year, but still well over half of my waking hours. Oh the joys of being footloose and offspring-less. Oh the sense of freedom, opportunity and possibility that the single life brings. But what do I do with all this spare time, these 280 hours a month? Not enough, to be honest. I keep myself occupied, I'm extremely good at that, and I'm never bored. But I'm also extremely good at dragging things out to fill the time available, and I'm rarely as productive as I could be. Yes, I know, I need to switch off my computer and get out and have a bit more of a life... Total number of hours spent doing stuff in February 2010: 672 (=24×28, obviously) 2010 - (work: 177) (rest: 163) (play: 280) (travel: 52) 2009 - (work: 156) (rest: 173) (play: 300) (travel: 43)
Count 5 (Nights out): Hang on, I still have two more nights to try to switch off my computer and get out and have a bit more of a life......