Quantified Summer Project – Raison D’Etre

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quantified summer measured meThe Quantified Summer project has finally come to an end last week, and I am currently working on the report that will summarize and present the findings. The actual data will also be made available for download on this blog, and of course, I will share the most interesting results in the future posts. In the meantime, let me explain briefly what exactly this project was about.

The Quantified Summer was essentially the first experimental phase of Measured Me initiative. As you may already know, Measured Me is my personal quest to build a system for tracking and analyzing life on everyday basis. The system must be quantitative (everything is measured and expressed in numbers and categories), parsimonious (only a handful of metrics and categories is used), and wholistic (the life is captured in its entirety, with all its essential components). Also, unlike other Quantified Self approaches, the system focuses not on one particular niche (e.g., health, mood or fitness) but rather an overall wellbeing. In its current version, system has three components:

  • Existential Wellbeing: indicators of hedonic and eudamonic quality of life
  • Being Well: indicators that capture current state of body, mind and psyche
  • Doing Well: indicators of my performance and progress related to social functioning and personal development

  • My ultimate goal is to find the most efficient and convenient metrics that could be used to capture these dimensions on a continuous basis. After a year of reviews and preliminary testing, I selected the following nine indicators that I believe can be used to track Existential Wellbeing and Being Well dimensions:

  • Happiness
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Physical Health
  • Physical Energy
  • Mental Alertness
  • Executive Cognitive Functioning
  • Stress
  • Emotional State
  • Sleep Quality

  • The objective of the Quantified Summer was to track these metrics continuously for one hundred days, and then evaluate them with regard to the following criteria:

  • descriptive potential (how much they vary across days and how well they describe any individual day)
  • redundancy (are they interchangeable or highly correlated)
  • convenience of use (how much time does it take to measure and log data)
  • predictive and discriminating potential (how useful they are for predicting purposes and how reactive are they to other aspects of everyday life)

  • The report will describe in detail both positive and negative findings, but here is a quick preview of some essential conclusions:

  • all nine indicators can be measured using sixteen variables; four of these variables (total sleep efficiency, restorative sleep efficiency, mental alertness, and executive cognitive functioning) are objective and measured passively or using a specialized apps; the remaining variables are of subjective nature but can be easily measured and logged using a mobile app
  • it takes on average just under 5 minutes to measure and log all information
  • two indicators (energy and emotional state) can be used to create three additional metrics (energy lost rate and emotional stability)
  • five out of nine indicators can be logged only once a day; the other four are more informative if measured at least twice a day
  • in spite of some correlations among them, all nine indicators are relatively independent
  • I am still reviewing tools for tracking Doing Well dimension. In particular, I am looking into various metrics for tracking productivity, sociability and social influence, strength of will, etc. These metrics most likely will be tested during the next phase, Quantified Winter.

    You can see the final visualization of major data points and some insights that were derived from them on this dashboard. If you are using rTracker app, you can install all indicators on your mobile phone by downloading tracker AM Input (after installing the file, change its extension from “txt” to “rtrk”, email to your iPhone or iPad as an attachment, and download it onto your device).

    Stay tuned!

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    One Response to Quantified Summer Project – Raison D’Etre

    1. Jacob says:

      Are you doing anything to quantify salience? And do you correlate your bio data with behavioral data (like spending habits and time spent with certain people)?
      Your project is really awesome btw and I think the fact that you’re publishing all of this is really excellent. Hopefully I can help contribute in some way.

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