The Quantified Self

Chalk this one up to another one of my blinding flashes of the obvious.

On a recent episode of Back to Work they mentioned about quantifying yourself. Dan and Merlin talked about how they use the FitBit for tracking both their sleep and movement. I've been using mine as a little motivator for keeping myself to my modest step goals and it's helped me to keep mobile both at work and at home. More importantly they also talk about seamlessly tracking what has your attention which got me thinking about using the Web Timer software that I used for my Media Diet experiment in September. Re-reading those posts is enlightening to me for several reasons:

  • I'm still fighting the same demons as I was back then, which is not great
  • When I actually took inventory of what it was that I was doing online I changed my behavior (sometimes for the better, other times as a response to the tracking).

I find that it's better for me to have some way of determining progress for myself, which is why I love sites like Goodreads for tracking what I'm reading (and showing my progress and giving me a sense of accomplishment when I complete a book). I love when my wrist buzzes to let me know when I've hit my step goal (something that will hopefully be happening later today). I remind myself to stay on task when I see WEb Timer counting up the minutes when I'm on Google Plus for more minutes than I wanted to spend.

I was using a site called Habbit.me for tracking my daily habits but have since moved to Lift.do as there is active development on the site. My reasons for tracking my habits there are to remind me to keep up with what I want to be doing, and to give myself the cookie / check mark when I do those things to advance.

I'm finding that I like to have my little report cards of how well I am doing, and wonder how to incorporate more of them in my day. If you have any suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments.

What do you use to quantify your self? Do you find it a useful exercise? Let me know!


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