I am a big fan of the Quantified Self movement. As a lover of statistics, being able to analyse my life is the best thing ever. Knowing how many kilometres I walk, what websites and programs I spend the most time on and which places I visit for each day is really interesting, and totally gets rid of the need to write a diary.
While I love knowing those sort of things, I hate manual data entry. I cannot be bothered to enter what I did on a particular day into an app — I might as well have a diary. So all the apps I use do their thing in the background and all the data then gets collected and compiled into a beautiful dashboard. I only own a smartphone and a laptop, there is no smartwatch on my wrist or fitness tracker on my belt, so you do not need one either to get started tracking yourself!
#1: Moves App
Moves is a smartphone app for Android and iOS which automatically tracks how far you walk, run, bike and drive each day. It goes even further though, and also tracks which and what kind of places you visit. All of this happens without any human interference, you just have to carry your smartphone around and Moves will do all the hard work and calculations for you.
This app is great. It is bang on correct about what I am doing almost every single time, and I only extremely rarely have to correct anything. (Which was not the case with other apps I tried) I have been using it for a while now, and I check every evening if I hit my target of 5km of walking.
RescueTime is an app for OS X, Windows, Linux, Android, Chrome and Firefox which tracks the programs you use on your devices. It merges the different data together, ranks it as productive time or distracting time and then calculates all sorts of statistics about your technology habits.
Incredibly interesting insights come to life here, e.g. out of 624h that I have tracked so far, 91 hours were spent in Sublime Text, 57 hours on reddit and 40 hours on localhost. (My local web server) This tells me a) that I am far more productive than I thought and b) that I should probably cut down on my reddit–usage.
Gyroscope is the web app that ties everything together. It integrates with a plethora of apps, wearables and social networks, and compiles all your collected data into one beautiful dashboard. (here is mine) I have Instagram, Foursquare and GitHub connected as well, so I know the pictures I shared, places I checked in at and when and how much I committed on a specific day. It looks gorgeous, works really well, and Anand Sharma and his team are continuously working on making it even better.
This should be enough to get you started with logging your life. I am looking to buy some sort of wearable now, to get rid of the need to carry my smartphone around while running. If you have any recommendations, or just want to chat, ping me on Twitter!
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