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Quantified Humanist

Week 1: Tracking Reflection

Overall, I am a very organized person and so tracking projects have popped up here and there as I have modified my workflow. I follow a podcast called Cortex which has introduced me to many productivity applications.  I try to be aware of my habits and how I can increase productivity and minimize distraction.  Thus, I am open to changes in my workflow to integrate tracking methods.  That being said, I have always had a little hesitation to living a life of over tracking.  I see how tracking can help you to stay focused and organized, but I am also scared to let tracking get so involved that it takes over.  I would like to integrate tracking in my life to optimize aspects that need help while finding a balance with my non-tracked life.  I recognize that storing and viewing data in itself will make you aware of areas in your life that need improvement and may even motivate you to make those changes.  This is where I see the usefulness of tracking.  

In the past I have attempted to adopt some self tracking methods.  Some have stuck while others have not.  In a way I feel like I have dipped my toes in the quantified self world here and there, but have never quite found my place.  I know that I would and do enjoy some tracking methods, I just haven't determined an organized method to the ways I adopt tracking.  Throughout this course, I hope to discover my place in this world of self tracking.  I hope to find applications that provide insightful data or optimize my workflow and health.  More importantly thought, I hope to learn what type of tracking I do not care to adopt.  In the end, I would like a tracking system that works for me that is relatively consistent but does not take over my life. 

I am still very much thinking through the type of data I would like to focus on tracking this semester.  The following are some of the areas that I have been thinking about but I am sure more will come to mind in these beginning weeks of the semester…

I have begun to track my sleep with my Apple Watch App called Pillow.  I want to use this data to look into how sleep changes my mood and how I feel throughout the day.  Consistently tracking my sleep will likely act as a nice correlation to other things I choose to track.  I would like to see what aspects of my day to day performance correlate to the time I go to sleep, my sleep quality, the hours of sleep I get, etc. 

With my watch I am also tracking my activity such as my workouts, my movement, and standing, etc. These will all also provide a good baseline to correlate to other things I track this semester. 

I am interested in noting my mood and general feelings day to day.  While I am a little worried about doing this in a consistent way, I am excited to use these results to compare to other factors.  Generally, I feel like a mood scale (1 sad - 5 happy) is not the best way to measure mood and seems like it could be somewhat arbitrary.  I would love to find an alternative method to cataloging how I am feeling that might provide more insight. 

I have always been a person that is specific about my work environment.  Most of the time I need to be alone and in silence to work productively.  In certain instances though I find I am able to work in a busy coffee shop.  Somehow, the way I set up my planner and my work station also seems to have an effect on my focus.  I would like to look into this and track my work habits. Perhaps I could note where I am working, what type of work I am doing, who I am working with, how fast it goes, how productive I feel the session went, if the work session had any distractions, if I completed the desired goal in the work session, etc.  Recording this information will allow me to better understand the requirements I need to work productively.  

Lastly, I would like to look into my phone use in some way.  I would not consider myself someone who is on their phone that often however I am very aware of this.  I would like to track what I do choose to spend phone time on and why.  I would like to track to discover if there are tools like app organization or coloring that change my phone behavior. 

Eva Philips