Draw a Face a Day
food tracking | mood & emotion
Ellis Bartholomeus is a game designer and received a book from her sister called "Face a Day" which got her curious about how she could motivate herself to change her behavior. She started drawing a face a day for six months and began to track more information like weather, drinking and food. She shares how she found ways to become both happier and healthier using her visualized data.
pen and paper
Hello, I’m Ellis in Wonderland or Ellis Bartholomeus. I have a company, I design games, but are used to design products, and interaction and experiences. And now I’m applying and doing research on play mostly.
And I've been trying to track my own Quantified Self a lot of many years because I'm just curious about how I motivate myself to change my behavior, and how I can apply that in my designs. And some years ago, I received this gift from my sister. It's a book, it's called Face A Day, and I was very happy that I was able to do it in a different way than with technology.
So I started to draw faces every day, there's one face you can draw like a register of what was the mood of that day. And the book looks inside like this. It's just a circle, you can add in the face, and on the left you can register other topics you want to address.
And I’ve been doing that for six months, and I enjoyed it a lot. But meanwhile, I was also trying to figure out like how soft is this registration. It’s not very quantified and what do I learn from doing this.
So I'm trying many ways to visualize what I've been doing. So this is like one month registered, but it's very hard to tell what does this month mean in this way. But there are a lot of smiles on a lot of faces drawn, and I was really enjoying that. But because I was enjoying doing that every night before falling asleep, I also liked putting in the data in here like what did I eat, and I was like oh, and what kind of weather. And I was very optimistic on the weather. If there was a bit of rain, I would always say there was still sunshine.
And it’s very nice to make it abstract; you limit yourself when you register the data. Then there was this positive and negative one, and during the six months, I stopped writing in the negative one because I didn't like doing that. So I was always very positive and becoming more positive.
But then I was also trying out like what else can I measure here, because I was doing it and I could register more. So then I started, on the left, you see my drinking usage because I thought there might be some improvement there.
So just counting it was already very good for me. I’m not going to tell all the details, but I did manage to decrease the amount of drinks I was doing. Then I also got curious, like what else could I change.
I wanted to cook my own dinner more often, so I was cooking more often, and then I write with just this little pan, pot/pan to register, then I was calculating, I’m doing good twice a week, three times a week. That’s because I’m very chaotic in my agenda.
Then when I ate candy, any candy is cake, chocolate, licorice, I just register I did eat some candid today because I would like to limit that.
And then I also started measuring when I did sports because I thought is relevant to my health. So I got a bit frustrated with all the little icons and everything and putting it in their like it got a bit too much.
Then I decided I want a different system, so I was giving myself numbers like one, two, three. Only these three, so I was always rewarding myself with a number, but one is like a bad day; I didn’t do any sport, I did drink alcohol, I’d did eat candy. Two is like an average day, and three is like a top day.
And the great thing is that you’re rewarding yourself every day. Even with the bad day, I was rewarding myself a point. So I got a bit too curious, like how does this motivate me and how can I help and how can I change my lifestyle, and become more healthy. So I wanted to get of course the level three all the time, but this was not easy.
So these are my six months of smileys, and now they are registered on the one, two, three points but it's not very clearly presented like this, but I still liked it. So I made the three is the green one, and red is one.
Still not very easy to register and also not very helpful while I'm doing it because it doesn't say much. So I decided to make the week and the average of the week to color it, to know like I have an average week, I have green week, or I have a very red week, and I really wanted to make it go better. But it was not easy to get a green week, not at all.
So this was my average I was using then on a daily base in the six months, and I learned that being orange is very good and I’m very happy because I did lose weight in that time, but I didn’t do any diet. I just balanced out more that if I knew that yesterday I had a red, a number one, today I might want to encourage myself to go to a three.
So this was helping me getting more healthy, but I also liked the smilies so much so I decided to measure all of them. And on the left, you see the negative ones, and in the middle of the sort of doubtful ones, and on the left they were like ha- ha.
So I measured all of them, and here they are on the level of how high they are and how low, and because I also realized while I was doing it, I was enjoying the smiley faces more, because when I draw I also start to smile, so I enjoyed it.
So in the six months, I increased my amount of smiles, so I did become more happy. And actually, people also told me that they asked me like what happened, you’re so happy, so it helps.
So I became happy, and I’m still trying to work with that, and the sunshine, you might have all noticed that in the months April, there were two weeks I did not register a face. Those two weeks I didn't go on holiday, but I took a holiday from my Quantified Self experiment because sometimes I need a break. I just don't want to do Quantify Self every day because I get exhausted.
Then I was so happy that I wanted to give my mother one of these books and said, mom, you should also do it because you also get happy. But she got frustrated in two weeks time because she said I’m out of faces and I don’t know what to draw any more.
So it’s very different, every person goes different, then I found this one in her place, this is a grocery list! But she did enjoy the colors. She liked the book, and she didn’t like the face drawing, so that was very funny. And for me also to know that it doesn’t apply to everyone.
Meanwhile, I was going around the city, and I saw this traffic light with a face drawn on it, and I realized that I’m applying these face drawings in my daily life. And looking at it I get inspired, and I see I can draw faces for the rest of my life, and I could use different pencils maybe for a year, or I can use coloring because they’re so inspiring and they’re so much reflecting like how do I feel and how can I change that. So this is my very last slide, and I hope to incorporate this in my profession later about motivation.
Thank you very much.