I am very excited to start this year with some new awesome self-tracking projects and experiments! For now, the major emphasis remains on areas like sleep, fitness, diet, cognition, and psyche, but I will be covering a bit productivity and finance, too. Here is a quick preview of what I am tracking (and working on) this month.
- I am testing this simple method that (supposedly) will help me “hack” my sleep cycles and find the best time to go to bed and wake up without alarm . The procedure is described in detail on Michael Breus’ Insomnia blog, but basically, I am trying to get five full cycles of sleep
- I am testing the Sleep Cycle app, so I could compare its metrics to Zeo readings and my subjective sleep assessment. The objective is to replicate my previous “three sleep metrics” experiment, with Sleep Cycles replacing the Sleep Time app
- I started recording some data related to my dreams: recall, content, vividness of the dreams and emotions experienced. Hopefully, this will help me to establish potential connection between the diet, exercise, stress and previous/next day emotions and experiences, and content of my dreams.
Tracking diet is never easy, and I am looking for new ways to simplify this process. This year, I am also interested in tracking ingredients, and will be adding sodium and cholesterol to macronutrient data. I am also delving deeper into exploring satiety, nutritional scores, and other qualities of food, and testing several interesting tools related to nutrition and eating behavior.
Bodymedia still rules, and this month I will focus on getting as many insights as possible out of its data. Of course, I still hope to get my hands on Basis tracker later this year!
In addition to Mind Metrics app, I am currently testing new app for tracking executive functions. I also retired the Focus Monitor from my inventory, because developers never fixed the problem with signing in, plus test takes about 4 minutes to complete, which is too long for me.
- My search for ways to quantify and predict happiness continues! This month, I am collecting data to test 4 psychological and behavioral models of happiness. Believe it or not, but one of the models was inspired by David Weatherford’s poem “Slow Dance”.
- I am also currently testing a slightly different approach to measuring physical, mental and emotional energy. Basically, instead of a linear 10-point scale I am using a 6-point Likert-type scale with more descriptive rating categories (e.g., to measure physical energy, I use “Exhausted, Tired, 3, 4, Active, Energized” categories)
- In addition to regular 10-point linear scale that I have been using to measure my mood, this month I am testing a 2-dimensional approach, described on Quantified Self site. The “inactive-active” and “negative-positive” dimensions of the mood are measured on a 10-point scale three times a day
- I also started tracking emotions (24 at this point), thrice a day (in the morning, afternoon, and evening). For now, I only track if I experienced the emotion, but do not log the intensity.
While I am still looking into different methods for measuring and tracking productivity, I managed to put together a short questionnaire to measure my creativity. This method is partially based on Guildford’s and Torrance’s theory of divergent thinking and problem solving, and may need some revision later. At this point, I am just collecting data.
I am currently working on developing a simple system for scoring my financial fitness, which I described in more detail in one of the earlier posts. The objective is to start assigning myself a monthly score based on how efficiently I manage my finance (short-term and long-term savings, living according to means, trading, investments, etc.)
As the month progresses, I will be posting more about these projects, including the actual questions, methodology, data and insights. Stay tuned!