A few examples of self-tracking projects
As today’s NaBloPoMo prompt didn’t inspire me, I thought it would be interesting to look at other self-monitoring projects and share some of my findings. As I explained early on, all kinds of things can be monitored for all kinds of reasons. Some people merely hope to understand themselves and their lives, but many are trying to answer a question, improve an area of their life, or solve a problem they are facing. Here are some examples of how keeping track can help.
Track keeping and visualising
There are many ways to keep track of whatever interests us. You can gather data on paper, on your phone, on your computer, using a simple planner or journal, a fitness wristband, an Excel spreadsheet or Access database, or even by making your own app or software to match your needs. You can probably download data from websites you use every day, such as Gmail or Netflix, and use it in whichever way strikes your fancy.
- A series addict created a visual history of their binge-watching from their Netflix data.
- A student produced a clear visualisation of her Friday night activities for a whole year.
- Someone even shared a simple time-tracking spreadsheet that you can start using right away.
When it comes to data visualisation, there is a lot of variety as well, from a basic (but effective) Excel graph to elaborate web pages and complex reports. Most tracking apps have a nice way of showing your data as well – I think the Fitbit dashboard looks pretty nice despite my poor stats.
While I have a thing for gorgeous data visualisations, what fascinates me is the story being a given project. As you can see, a lot can be achieved using personal data:
- Solving a health issue
- Losing weight
- Preparing for a marathon
- Improving one’s sleep
- Improving one’s financial health
- Optimizing productivity
- Achieving better work-life balance
- Becoming more punctual
- Understanding one’s emotions
- Improving one’s relationships
- Optimising online dating
Source: Quantified Self