Track Your Happiness

August 4, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write something about Track Your Happiness, a project of Matt Killingsworth at Harvard University. A couple of weeks ago Buster McLeod, an interesting self-tracker whose writing I enjoy, reviewed his experience with Track Your Happiness. He was pleased.

Track Your Happiness Is Awesome

Track Your Happiness is a project begun as part of Matt Killingsworth‘s doctoral research at Harvard University. He’s working in Daniel Gilbert’s lab… Daniel Gilbert is famous for his book Stumbling Towards Happiness and his work on positive psychology, or the study of happiness.

Basically, Track Your Happiness works by text messaging you 3-5
times a day at random times and asking you a series of questions. 
Things like, “How happy are you right now?”, “Do you want to do what
you’re doing?”, “Do you have to do what you’re doing?”, “Where are
you?”, “Are you alone?”, “Are you talking or interacting with anyone?”
etc.  Some of the questions are smart too.  If you say you’re
interacting with someone, it’ll ask you how many people you’re
interacting with.

Among the things that Buster learned so far from tracking his happiness is that his sleep quality and his happiness didn’t correlate as much as expected. This observation is one I’ve heard before, most recently from one of the presenters at the QS Show&Tell #7. (Videos coming soon.)  One thing worth investigating, though, is whether sleep quality is a leading indicator; that is, whether good sleep or poor sleep predicts improvement or degradation of mood more than one day in advance.

I’m going to write more about Buster’s own projects in a later post. But you can get a jump on me by following the link to his site to read the whole Track Your Happiness review.


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