A Quick Peek at My Quantified Self Experiments and Projects in January

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measured me blog quantified self personal analytics self experimentation personal informatics life optimization self improvement self development blogI 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.

Sleep

  • 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.

Diet

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.

Fitness

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!

Cognition

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.

Psyche

  • 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.

Productivity

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.

Finance

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!

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8 Responses to A Quick Peek at My Quantified Self Experiments and Projects in January

  1. Christine R.. says:

    If you crack the creativity code it would be nice. Have been trying to track it, but to no avail. Would love to see your “secret sauce”!

  2. M.W. says:

    Hi!

    I used Sleep Cycles mobile app, it only shows cycles and gives you total efficiency %. The Sleep Time app has REM time and all shebang, check it out! What do you mean by subjective sleep assessment?

  3. Measured Me says:

    Hi MW,

    If you mean Azumio’s app Sleep time app, I actually used it in my previous experiment, check it out: http://measuredme.com/2012/12/comparing-zeo-bodymedia-and-sleep-time-app-sleep-metrics. I also describe subjective sleep questions in that post. email me if you have any questions!

  4. You tried My Fitness Pal for the nutrition/diet tracking? It’s what I use and I’ve found it the best out there. There’s both an app an online version. I only use the app as I usually have my phone with me when eating.

  5. Measured Me says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I am using rTracker at this point. Does My Fitness Pal let you calculate the cost of individual meals? E.g., I am tracking how much did my 350 grams of chili (cooked by me, so i know the cost of the ingredients) that I ate today for lunch cost me.

  6. Measured Me says:

    Btw, great blog! I just added it to my blogroll :)

  7. Eric van W. says:

    You are taking on too many self-tracking projects at the same time, how do you remember to record all these…

  8. Measured Me says:

    Hi Eric,

    That’s the beauty of rTracker – all questions are kept in the same app and grouped by categories. For instance, I have a group of questions to be answered in the morning. Very convenient! The rest is about consistency and persistence :)

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