Daily Vis

Quantifying the self — Why I track 80 metrics about my life every day

Self-tracking is an investment.

Every day since April 2017, I spend a couple of minutes before I go to sleep to log the day's activities.

How I began quantifying my life

It started out with trying to build a good habit, meditation in particular. I wanted to make sure that I met my goals, and it's like they say - you can't improve what you don't track.

What my spreadsheet looked like at some point (before I stepped up my tech game)

The aspects of my life that I keep track of

Fitness, Diet, Sleep

The basic things to track, and I do it for obvious reasons like seeing my progress towards fitness goals and making sure that I'm not telling lies when my mom asks if I've been eating my veggies.

Good habits & things I want to learn

Anything I want to improve on actively, I try to keep track of. I find that I get motivated by streaks and especially if it's a new habit, I'm more likely to keep it going when I visually see the momentum I have.

Bad habits

Most people just celebrate good habits and try to brush their bad ones under the rug. I've found that tracking bad habits can be eye-opening, insightful, and opens the door to changing those habits if you wish to.

Time spend

Time is the most precious resource, so it makes sense to keep track of it. Not that we need to be productive for every second of every day, but it does help to have a general idea of what you're spending your time on, and how that affects the other parts of your life that you care about.

How I feel

This one's big, as how we feel about ourselves is often times the key driver behind our life choices and day to day actions.

Datapoints tracked over time

Here are the categories and some stats about each one
And here is my data input magnitude over the years (up through December)

So why bother doing all of this?

The million dollar question, and the answer has evolved over time. To sum it up though:
- Goals - Keeping myself accountable and reinforcing good habits
- Awareness - Not hiding from my bad habits, but acknowledging them in order to make decisions with data when it makes sense
- Mindfulness - This daily check-in lets me reflect on the day and set goals for tomorrow
- Insights - What starts as a one-way street of putting data in, turns into a two-way highway that gives me information about my life that goes beyond the obvious and has the potential to even surprise me
- I can't stop... - A joke but also not really. Is there a name for this type of addiction?

Is it worth it?

I can only speak for myself, but I'd say absolutely. Those 5 minutes every night are not only not a "waste" because I reap the benefits of the data at some future point in time, but the forced moment of self-reflection is one that can be quite valuable.

The Quantified Self movement

This concept of self-tracking is not one that I made up. There is a set of awesome online communities of people who quantify aspects of their life in different ways, and share their methods, reasons, conclusions, and insights with others.

What I learned about myself

Thanks for getting this far, but I think it's time for a break. In my next post I'll share the top insights that I've learned about myself from tracking all of this data every day.

Writings about the Quantified Self. https://dailyvis.com/