Instead of a new year’s resolution, I find it more practical to describe you in a post here (yes the last post was months ago..) the methods / tools / wearable gadgets and sorts of stuff that I use to track aspects of my existence.
Let’s start with one of this blogs beloved lists :
I have my Fitbit for a year and a half. When I bought it was an impulse buy in order to trick my self into adopting healthy habits and embrace a more active life style. Partially it works, it keeps me somewhat motivated to hit my daily goal (10K steps) and also it was the stepping stone to start a spinning class. I didn’t see any major weight loss, so far, but because I love good (fatty) food. The feature I love in this little thing, is the sleep tracking capabilities that gives you a greater picture of your sleeping quality (restless/awake) and the patterns that you can discover through the dashboard. Major Metric : Steps NF (*nice feature): Sleeping Tracking WIM (*What I’m missing): a proper heart rate monitor capabilities (recently added to the new line of trackers) and some more detailed correlations for the sleep tracking data.
Pebble watch / Misfit app
As an early Pebble baker, I saw the early days of the rising “smartwatch era”, not so charming at that time with limited capabilities, apart from accurate telling the time. But now the Pebble watch is the most descent piece of hardware that you can buy in this category with plenty of app choices (from calculators to angry birds watchfaces). I use it in two ways : As an advanced time/condition awareness tools (not just knowing the time) but with watchfaces that vibrate each hour (or in a custom interval) and gives you accurate weather information such as sunrise/sunset, temperature, wind speed etc — this kind of haptic feedback and constant environmental information, gives you a sense of coeval awareness that helps me in various ways. The second use is the recently added fitness Misfit app which is the software side of the known minimalistic wearable added to the Pebble e-ink screen. It works fine, the UI is comprehensive and helps me to correlate/validate the fitbit data. Pebble now offers also sleep tracking through Morpheus sleep monitor, but I find it uncomfortable to sleep with my watch (I barely stand my small fitbit). Major metric:awareness NF:cozy design watchfaces WIM:more stable firmware/more robust localization
Exist.io Exist is a life data dashboard by Hello Code created in Melbourne, Australia. I was among the first paid subscribers because I find the idea very attractive. Inside Exist you can connect all the wearable gizmos that you own (support all major fitness trackers such as Fitbit, Moves, Jawbone, Withings) and also your calendar, twitter, foursquare (needs update though) mood tracker (a service by email from the exist creators) Last.fm (unfortunately I use Spotify ) and recently RescueTime.com . You get a dashboard that you can see your day wrapped up by data, such as steps/tweets/productivity/meetings/sleep/weather and you can drill down to 8 days perspective or even 30 days grid. The essence of the service for me is the growing collection of chart correlations like steps correlated with mood or for example productive time versus distracting time (I will explain more in the RescueTime part later) and the averages off all that data. This service costs $6 per month but for me the work of Belle Beth Cooper and Josh Sharp worth every penny.
Major metric:data correlation NF:average of all metrics combined WIM:to be free to make my own correlations
RescueTime.com This is a service that I discovered lately, when I saw it to the Exist implementation roadmap. I’m still on the free plan (is another $6 a month for more reports) but I’m not convinced yet that it will give me a bigger picture than the one I already have, an almost 50–50 productive/distracting time on my computers. I logged more than 211 productive hours using it for the past 2 months and I think that the free version gives you more than enough to start. The app and the browser plugin is super silent and discrete that you forget that exists.
Major metric:productivity NF:productivity pulse compared week by week WIM: An automated (I wish) feature to log the time spend at offline meetings and phone calls
Headspace The killer app to start meditation in a heartbeat. People who know me, can tell that I’m a big fun of mindfulness, with this app you can get your daily guided meditation -10 minutes each day- and also find an easy way to start learning how your head works. Andy Puddicombe the creator of the app is a great story teller and a seasoned meditation expert that can guide you through the process. The app is super simple and the graphics are meticulous designed. In the free plan the goal is to take 10 sessions for 10 days (there is no problem if you break “the chain”) after this ten sessions I assure you that you will get a subscription, a bit pricey €11.9/month but the price does not avail against the benefits that you will get. Major metric:mindfulness NF:the explanatory videos at the first sessions WIM: Wish I had more time and willpower to meditate more that 10+10 minutes a day
Reporter app One of my latest additions in the quantified self inventory. I’m using Report app for a week and so far I like the way that is asking questions. I pick up this app by Buster Benson and his article on how he tracks his life. I configure the questions more or less as Buster proposing and so far I like the immediacy of the reports and the UI and user experience. Nick Felton and Drew Breunig did a great job from a design perspective and the choice of giving the data to you only, is a great argument for the privacy bourgeois. I know that giving privacy is the key to comprehend more insight these days, but anyway that’s just me (and Robert Scoble )
I will close this post with a list of apps/services I didn’t manage to stick. I’m not looking for how and why I’ll leave it to you to try and decide if it works for you.
There are hundreds of apps to track your daily habits, I find it interesting to collect them through gadget/gizmos and services, others keep a journal or have the willing power (power of will) to change a habit by building rituals. The goal at the end is to be a better person for yourself and the ones you care.
feedback, thoughts, ideas or a new service to try ? Tweet me: @insideabox.