Discuss: What Are You Currently Tracking?

Our last discussion post was so popular that we’re doing it again. Today’s topic is:

What metrics are you currently tracking about yourself? What do you measure daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly? You get bonus points if you share what tools you use to track your data or any insights you’ve learned.

I’ll start off the discussion with things I’m tracking, which I’m currently trying to keep to a minimum set that is immediately useful to me:

Daily
- Headaches (Countdown iPhone app)
- Dietary experiments (Countdown iPhone app)
- Hours worked on different projects (TallyZoo Free iPhone app)
- Thoughts that come up in my internal self-talk (paper)

Monthly
- Menstrual cycle (PeriodTracker Lite iPhone app)
- Self-employment expenses (Google Spreadsheets)
- Spending in different budget categories (Mint iPhone app)

Yearly or as needed
- Medical checkup
- blood pressure, weight, heart rate, any necessary or interesting blood or spit tests (paper medical records)

Now it’s your turn. Discuss what you are currently tracking below!

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19 Responses to Discuss: What Are You Currently Tracking?

  1. Josh says:

    Spending – Mint
    Credit Score – Credit Karma
    Investments – Mint & Google Finance
    Workouts & Health Data – Sparkpeople & Imapmyrun on iphone
    Travel – Tripit and Tripchill
    Thoughts – Google Docs
    To do and done – Google Tasks
    Sleep patterns – Sleepcycle on iphone
    Fuel consumption – Fuelly
    Restaurant opinions – Yelp
    Car Maintinence – Google Spreadsheets
    Long term goals – Google Spreadsheets
    Productivity – Rescue Time
    Hope that helps

  2. Brian says:

    Every morning, I record weight, blood glucose, blood pressure, and pulse. I also track my running mileage.

  3. Mark says:

    Can you tell us which Countdown app you are using? There are 4 with very similar names in the app store.

  4. Joseph Buchignani says:

    Hi QS,
    Sorry I haven’t replied to our previous email exchange. I’ve been ill and have a project to complete. I promise I will get to it with a thorough reply, but I can’t give a timeframe right now.
    Here’s a brief rundown of what I track (some of this is honored more in the breach):
    Daily journal: Summary of PC screenshots every minute. Rescuetime daily data from API. Voice recorder notes. Universal inbox notes. Hourly energy and focus graph. Daily checklist adherence. Pomodoro sessions. All of these inputs are blended and distilled into a convenient summary.
    Others: 20 habit/virtue scores in an MS Access database daily.
    Daily analysis: journaled times form the basis for a daily task spreadsheet, which is then entered into MS Project.
    Journaled times also go into a categorical time breakdown spreadsheet, showing e.g. 4 quadrants time expenditure: urgent important, urgent unimportant, etc.
    Tools: Gmail, Google Calendar, Iphone Voice Recorder app, Highrise, MS Access, Emacs, Focus Booster, VLC media player (transcription), BrainStorm SW, Git + Github, Dropbox, hottnotes for daily checklist, Callcounter for tracking two variables (difficult to find this download).
    Obviously most of the magic is in how the tools are used and come together, so I’ll try to write a more thorough workflow later, and also cover reviews.
    Thanks for hosting this interesting discussion!
    Best regards,
    JB
    PS
    Here are my thoughts on your tracking methods:
    Headaches – I label these type of health events on my Focus/Energy hourly graph on the x axis.
    Dietary experiments – hugely important to me. I make a voice note about everything I eat and when.
    Internal self talk thoughts – paper loses emotion and impedes capture by slowing it to pen speed, plus you have to fumble with page turning and concentrate on handwriting. I prefer the voice, just ramble freely. Somehow the audible feedback helps make it more real.
    Monthly and yearly tracking – accomplished purely by an aggregation of daily data.

  5. randy says:

    Things I’m currently tracking:
    * Web browsing habits using the Chrome extension “History Trends”
    * Gas mileage on 2 cars using the Mileage Android app. I’ve known some people who installed real-time gas mileage displays in their car and changed their driving behavior as a result of that instant feedback.
    * Finances with Mint.com. I’m mostly interested in monthly net income.
    * Weather statistics using a personal weather station (but that’s not really self-tracking).
    A few things I’ve used in the past:
    * A pitch counter to track the frequency of negative thought patterns.
    * pH strips to track my daily pH levels.
    * The Calorie Counter Android app to track everything I eat.
    I would love to start tracking electricity usage with devices like The Energy Detective combined with Google PowerMeter, but I’m not there yet.

  6. Alexandra Carmichael says:

    @Mark – the countdown app I’m using is http://www.c3images.com/iphone/countdown/

  7. steven pierce says:

    since 2000 i have been tracking my surfing in a spreadsheet. it may not be quite as cool as the previous posts, but it tells me heaps about myself in hindsight. i switched to google spreadsheets format a little over a year ago. so every time i go surfing i put a date entry with where i surfed, a 1-5 rating not completely based on wave quality as it can be offset by fun of surfing during that session, and a brief description of the outing.
    the best part for myself is that i can, beyond a shadow of a doubt, reply to someone about a particular swell with very precise dates, and most times memories of said swell with textual backing. the other interesting points to me are the years that i did not have kids vs. the years/dates when our kids (3x) were born my surf sessions ebbed and flow respectively. now some ten years after starting this i am more and more inclined to continue based on the data i am preserving.

  8. Gary Wolf says:

    I use Google Docs spreadsheet, which I post to using a web form. I have a link to the web form on my iPhone, so it works like a custom tracking application, and is easily editable. Joe Betts-Lacroix suggested this to me and posted a how-to guide here: http://www.kk.org/quantifiedself/2009/05/diy-mobile-self-tracker.php.
    Currently my web form looks like this:
    Systolic
    Diastolic
    Heart Rate
    Monitor (to calibrate)
    Aerobic Exercise (minutes)
    Sleep Hours
    Weight
    Fish Oil (tablespoons)
    Flax Seed Oil
    Rested @ wake up (0-5)
    Anger/Irritation (# of episodes, -24 hours)
    Meditation (minutes)
    The most recently added one is Anger/Irritation. We have had squirrels chewing on our phone lines, which makes the phone cut out at unexpected times. Comcast has fixed it; then it happens again. I noticed that sometimes these disconnections really pissed me off (“Damn you, Squirrels!”), and sometimes they just caused mild exasperation. The same with other irritations.
    The obvious question is: maybe this is not about the external trigger, but about an internal state. I decided to keep track of these episodes. Maybe I will learn something. (In fact, I already have: I learned they are not as common as I thought. I would have guessed they occurred several times each day, but in fact the actual rate is one every few days. Perhaps the power of the emotion makes it memorable, and this caused me to over estimate its frequency. Alternate hypothesis: noting the episodes made them less frequent.

  9. james says:

    I’ve just started tracking a connection between the amount of milk I drink before bed and having night sweats while asleep. I discovered this connection using my own app (which I won’t plug here :) and I’m using the Edison site (http://edison.thinktrylearn.com/) to analyze it.
    These are the things that I want to find out:
    1. What my milk threshold is before I start experiencing night sweats
    2. The effect of the amount drunk on the severity of the sweats
    3. If it makes a difference whether I drink the milk alone or with something else (e.g. breakfast cereal)
    4. The time to onset from drinking to night sweats
    5. Whether there is the same effect with unhomogenised milk as there is with homogenised milk.

  10. @harscoat says:

    I track things I can directly influence/ related to my behavior = activities (not blood pressure, sugar levels, cause I think soon there will be easy sensors for that & I personally would not know how to interpret it). Eg. sport activities, work, deliberate practice, water I drink / day, # of professional meetings.
    I use a simple syntax (#label:xUnit) I include in Twitter messages, eg. #Run:40mn or #meeting:3
    It is consolidated on my http://www.quantter.com profile page. If sensors allow me automatically (=not cumbersome) to track more data I will consolidate them with Quantter.
    I track to become “regular”(systematic) at what I do & I try to reflect on which factors increase regularity.

  11. Eric Blue says:

    I’ve been meaning to do a more in depth blog post on this, but here’s a quick rundown:
    - Mint for financial tracking and monitoring of budget and spending habits
    - Fitbit for tracking activity level, calories burned, distance walked and sleep quality
    - (New) MyZeo for detailed sleep tracking. I’m planning on evaluating starting next week.
    - WiThings scale to track weight, lean & fat mass
    - Detailed workout/fitness logging. I’ve been using a combination of a journal in a semantic wiki and more recently using iFitness on iPhone to log workouts (strength training, cardio, running).
    - Time tracking/organization: using a combo of Tracks(GTD), Google Calendar and Reqall
    - (New) Using TallyZoo to starting tracking caffeine intake, meditation time, time spent learning/researching and on personal projects
    - Dream journal: I haven’t done this much this year, but in the past I’ve kept a detailed record in my semantic wiki
    - Daily photos: Wireless webcam at my house that takes a snapshot each minute (for the past 3 years). I can compile fast-motion videos to show the week, month, or even year.
    Doing some experiments with MicroGPS is next on my list. I’d like to start keeping a very small GPS on me to track location and coordinates (a little more on the extreme tracking end).

  12. Lance says:

    I’ve been using DailyDiary (http://dailydiary.com) for over 10 years now to keep track of various aspects of my life. I look for trends and correlations between them. The questions/metrics change over time, but here is the current list:
    Daily
    Q. How was your day? – General journal plus a numeric rating of the day
    Q. How many minutes did you exercise or stretch today? – Never enough
    Q. How much did your arm hurt today? – Dang computers and tendonitis
    Q. How many Advil did you take today? – To kill the arm pain
    Q. How many canker sores do you have today? – Aggravated by the Advil :(
    Q. How many hours did you fly today? – Fun!
    Q. Did you sleep on the couch tonight? – Because of the baby, not the wife :)
    Weekly
    Q. How much do you weigh today? – Hopefully, less
    Monthly
    Q. What is the size of your waist today? – Trying to reverse the trend!
    I just started using Zeo to track my sleep patterns. And I have 20 years (all the way back to college) of financial data in Microsoft Money. (Very sad to see Microsoft discontinue the product!)

  13. Joost Plattel says:

    It’s good to make lists! Here’s mine:
    Currently tracking(daily):
    - Distance and time travelled (including locations)
    - Amount of caffeine/alcohol
    - Hours slept / quality
    - Hours work / quality
    - Top 5 great and sad things every
    - Overall review of the day (scale 1 – 10)
    Done in less then 3 minutes using personalstats.nl (beta-tool which i helped developing and sadly it’s in dutch… :-( )
    Other tools i use to collect data about myself:
    - Shelfari (books)
    - Wakoopa (computer usage, but i want an export function!)
    - Foursquare (KML-feed)
    - Runkeeper (currently learning python to scrape data, since there is not export function yet)
    - Yunoo (Finance like Mint.com but in dutch)
    Stopped using:
    - 750words.com (writing is not for me, i’m a data person)
    - Daytum (takes to much time to add data)
    Want to:
    - Do more with data i generate on the computer
    - Streaming gps location
    - A haptic compass anklet like The North Paw

  14. Alexandra Carmichael says:

    Wow, great lists, thanks everyone!! And Joost, I like your additional mention of tools that you stopped using (and why), and your wish list. Very interesting.

  15. Matt says:

    Calories: Loseit! Iphone app
    To Do list: Steno pad
    Project Ideas: Steno pad
    Seeking recommendations for a web usage monitor…

  16. Matthew Cornell says:

    All the data I’m collecting is in the context of experiments, which helps me focus and organize what I’m doing, why, when I should stop, and what I’m learning along the way. I’m using Edison (http://edison.thinktrylearn.com/) to manage the experiments, and different tools for the actual data depending on what type it is.
    Currently I’m running the following experiments (I’ve show specific data and tools). Like Alex I’m limiting the data I capture to important experiments so I don’t go overboard. (Has anyone else had “data overload”?)
    o adopt a new oral care regime:
    o pocket depth in mm – measured by periodontist. EVERY 6 MONTHS
    o paper reports
    o Write the book “Think, Try, Learn: A scientific method for discovering happiness” (a “master” experiment, ultimately measured in # books published :-) . DAILY
    o text observations on the overall writing process
    o Edison
    o reserve mornings for writing (an individual experiment for the above one). DAILY
    o minutes spent, # words written
    o spreadsheet
    o Install a new bedtime sleep routine. AT NIGHT
    o timestamped “Laid Down” and “Got Up” events, nap duration (if any), meds taken (if any)
    o your.flowingdata via Jose’s iPhone uploader
    o Outsource Edison Facebook Connect Feature to Elance and Freelancer. DAILY
    o time to implement, number of back-and-forth, number of bugs found
    o freelancer.com communication tool (informal)
    o plant raspberry bushes. WEEKLY
    o how many live!
    o Edison
    In all of these I’m making text observations as the experiments progress. My thinking is that a lot of the personal development and growth is a result of the process of experimenting itself, with the data being secondary.
    In addition to the experiments, like Joseph I’m keeping a daily journal of nearly everything I think and do, people I talk to, etc (more at http://www.kk.org/quantifiedself/2010/08/jim-keravala-on-mind-mapping.php?) In particular I track Decisions Made and Lessons Learned. These have been helpful in a yearly review I do.
    For time management and daily productivity I use my daily planning method (reviewed at the end of the day, and if I’m having trouble sleeping):
    o % tasks completed
    o Mac Stickies program
    In the past I’ve used the MotivAider to help make and break habits, I used the “engineer’s diet” to lose 15 pounds, and I tracked mood (I have type II Bipolar Disorder) using paper and a standard form (anxiety, irritability, depressed, euphoric, sleep, cognition problems, siginicant events). I couldn’t find a good iPhone app for the latter. I tried Daily Tracker, but it’s limited to one entry per day.
    I’m investigating using Gary’s Google Docs idea, with forms on my iPhone that I fill out as needed. (Note: The link to the article should be http://www.kk.org/quantifiedself/2009/05/diy-mobile-self-tracker.php . Gary’s link has an extra “.” at the end.)
    @gary: Has tracking the mental squirrel bites helped with your reaction to them? Sometimes I wonder if putting energy into something like this has the opposite effect.
    @harscoat: What do you think of the quantter syntax? Is it cumbersome to enter?
    @Eric: I’d love to hear how MyZeo works out for you. Someone told me about it after my QS #3 talk in Boston, and it looked cool.
    Great stuff!

  17. bodyhacker says:

    nice Eric Blue!
    nutrition using cron-o-meter. would really like to track more, but it’s much work. fitbit and zeo are nice devices and might have to pick them up given the auto logging.
    have an idea for a startup to use voice sentiment and/or a wearable heart rate/ekg to track mood automatically, correlate that to activity, location, sleep, diet, etc, then provide an e-life coach (using an algorithm) to provide tips to get you into your desired mood or performance level.
    for example, a high beat music would play if excercising (studies show it increases performance), or perhaps breathing excercises if stressed.

  18. Jscott says:

    Great lists.
    Mine:
    Body fat percent weekly
    Body weight daily at exact same time
    Water intake
    Weather
    Moods three times per day
    Supplements (adding only one new or removing one per 30 days)
    Sleep
    Strength testing
    40 yard 100 yard times
    Meditation consistency
    Sex
    food intake
    Heart rate
    body movement

    I use daily diary, fitbit, and a spreadsheet. Wanting to create a database and use more automated systems for some of my tracking.

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