It is difficult for students to maintain a normal academics/life balance. The pressure of academics, relationships, the pressure to be in stunning shape and appearance, daily chores and of course the need for partying can often cause a mental explosion, leaving us crunched for time. Its a real pity on how the best years of our lives turn out to be the most stressful.
The Quantified self movement can help with this problem. We can keep a track of our activities and get a review of what we do with our time using Quantified Self tools. This can allow students like me embark upon a journey of improving our daily schedule, not only increasing our productivity but also helping us keep track of our health & fitness.
These lifelogging tools present data and our daily routine as a pattern in very a very organised manner. For example in form of graphs which can be understood very easily. This influences our life by tracking the most important aspects such as:
Students are always crunched for time. There are an overwhelming number of activities like attending classes, keeping up with friends and family, studying & project submissions. What most of us fail at miserably is to manage our most important resource- time . The Quantified Self movement helps us to analyse our day and see it at a glance. It also assists to keep track of time spent on our activities. These lifelogging apps can help us balance how we are spending our time. For example, Instant also tracks app usage time and gives a report based on that. It can help understand the time being wasted on games for example, all through the week.
Students generally get caught up with studies and are able to give very less attention to fitness. Often, we end up putting our body through tough routines with huge fluctuations in eating and exercising patterns. The pedometer is already a very popular Quantified Self tool, it helps count steps and gives a rough estimate of daily exercise. But, there is much more to fitness than activities tracked by the pedometer. Activity trackers are getting smarter and can now judge a variety of activities such as running, climbing a flight of stairs, squats, crunches, etc.
We eat some of the unhealthiest meals possible in college (surviving on chips and drinks isn’t really a good choice). Food trackers are a great option to log the food we consume through the day. The calories counted by it remind us to eat healthy (it does give a very guilty feeling logging in too many unhealthy items).
Sleep deprivation is a major problem for all students and we end up doing most of our important activities only in half consciousness. (Often ends up messing up the assignments) Through lifelogging tools, we can log & collect data through apps or wearables. Further, these tools can compute and present our sleeping patterns for our optimum time & duration of sleeping. This would allow us to start our day completely fresh and rejuvenated for the better productivity.
There are some useful applications track our location all through the day. These tools can give us a report of all the places we visit, with the time spent there. Certain applications even give reminders of tasks on reaching the location, such as buying milk when on reaching the supermarket. This can help keeping track of time & reminded to complete tasks.
As a student, we are pretty tight on our monthly budget. We can use money tracking apps to help us out with this problem. We can log in our transactions (some even do this automatically going through SMS with credit card alerts) and the applications tells us how much we have spent over a period of time. It can also give us an idea on where we are spending money. This can eliminate overspending in a big way!
Overall, I definitely think the Quantified Self movement can be really useful for students like me. I see it helping me with my fitness, budget and time productivity in a big way.
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