Thursday, April 12, 2012

Self-tracking, Personal Analytics & Quantified Self

For the past few weeks, I’ve been using the Fitbit device to track my activity and sleep and now I’m hooked on the idea of personal analytics. I've now added a few other products to my “wish list” which include Basis, Zeo Sleep Manager, and the Withings Scale. After I try out those devices, I think I’ll have a pretty good measure on most aspects of my health!
The larger appeal of self-tracking and self knowledge through analytics (“Quantified Self”) is the fact that in order to improve aspects of your life, you need to first be able to analyze your body’s trends and activities. I’ve been really interested in this idea since I started using Fitbit because not only can an app or device like this help me track my health, but it also motivates me to become a happier, healthier person. Since I got started using this device, I’ve come across several great articles about the “Quantified Self” movement:
VC, Tim Chang, who invests in several personal analytics and quantified self devices, sums up the reason why I enjoy tracking aspects of my life, “Numbers, presented with useful context, provide an immediate path to better control over my own life.”

If you're interested in experimenting with this idea, here are two very useful resources for anyone who wants to discover additional tools for self-tracking:

Also, here is a list of some other ideas that I came across that I’ve been using to help with self-tracking:

-books I read/want to read: GoodReads
-movies I watch/want to watch: IMDb Watchlist
-restaurants I go to/want to go to: Foursquare and Restaurant Bucket List
-my happiness: Track Your Happiness
-my trips: TripIt
-my memories: MemoLane
-music I listen to:
-my finances, investments and spending: Mint and Pageonce and Piggie (iPhone app)
-energy usage: WattzOn
-my mood: MoodScope
-my productivity and tasks: RescueTime, Producteev, and Google Tasks
-my contacts and relationships: Gist, FellowUp and Wisdom
-number of alcoholic beverages: Tipple (iPhone app)
-my runs: RunKeeper
-my goals:
-Daily journaling: Daileez
-my favorite links: Evernote and Google Bookmarks
-blogs/news I read: Google Reader
-and for just about everything else: Daytum

I think the most fascinating website I came across while trying to learn more about personal analytics was the Feltron Report. Nicholas Feltron started creating personal annual reports back in 2005, which track just about all aspects of his life, a bit like a scrapbook, but replacing pictures with numbers, charts and graphs. It’s a really cool idea and something I would love to do if I ever found the time!

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