Lifelogging apps and wearables are becoming very popular in 2017. The growing array of wearables help with being able to track in a seamless manner. But, the question that really matters here is that, how it feels to lifelog. It is actually pretty hard to answer with a single point of view.
When I started off, I was really excited about getting analytics into my daily activities. I used to be really eager to check my stats all the time and often used to end up checking them more than 20 times in a day. I started off with tracking my phone usage, sleep and distance walked. Later, I also added an Apple Watch to keep track of my Heart Rate throughout the day. This was a really good start for me then because I was sleeping less, eating a lot and exercising really less. Needless to say, this was getting in the way of my productivity. I could see this through my weekly reports.
Here are few observations I had during the process of Quantifying myself.
It’s all about the innovation
The user becomes an inventor in the process. Most of the parameters that people track or methods by which they track aren’t perfectly suitable for other users. There is nothing as good as personalization of tracking methods. When we personalise the experiment, it becomes easier to follow. This makes it easier to stick to the experiment and keeps us interested.
Need to mix it up
Tracking the same thing over long periods of time can get boring. When it gets boring, it’s not really effective and we tend to deviate from the target. Innovation steps in here again. We need to change our methods, find ways to keep it interesting. It also helps to change the parameter we are tracking by a little. I found myself changing my tracking routine on a monthly basis and this really helped be more result oriented. Like adding an Apple Watch for Heart Rate tracking a month into my activity tracking was so exciting. Correlating all the new data gave a new angle to my lifelogging experience.
Work hard for the result
I had really tried my best on reducing phone usage. When I finally started showing good improvement, it motivated me. I could go up to go 2 to 3 hours at a stretch without using my phone in spite of carrying it around. But, I really lost it on my cutting down nail-biting experiment. I just didn’t try hard enough. . Basically, another reason why self-tracking gets boring is because we see all the parameters and yet do little or nothing about it. Good results or improvements out of the tracking helps keep us glued to the tracking process.
When I started of lifelogging initially, none of my friends gave it attention. But, I got really good support from the online community. Slowly, when the results started showing, my friends joined in too. When they started Quantifying themselves, it became easier for me too. This is because I had people with a similar mindset around me. The competition aspect is great, we had a daily competition of how many calories we burnt.
A successful experiment paves the way for another. Once I had completed my first experiment, I got so excited that I took up tracking my calorie intake. This led to me successfully reducing my calorie intake and eating healthy. The success really adds overall self-confidence.