I've always been intrigued with what we can find if we really reflect on what we've done. What patterns may emerge? What implcit information can be made visible? Recently, all the technology as evolved in a way in which collecting fair amounts of data about oneself is feasible. So, at the end of 2010, I decided: I'd start lifelogging! Which I did. I have data since January 1st 2011 on a number of variables describing my behaviour. Still haven't done much with it, but thought I'd share what I've been doing. If you have any ideas on what more to collect and what kinds of analysis I should do, let me know.
I've been using three different tools to record data.
While only now have people started talking about wearables left and right, Fitbit had one a few years ago. I'm down to my third, and it works as I think these things should: fully automatic, records a number of things in a seamless way, and has a battery that lasts for almost two weeks. With fitbit I've been recording:
- Number of steps
What foods I've eaten (on their website)
Now, recording foods is a real pain. Every foodstuff in every meal. But somehow I get it done, in no small part due to the fact that I can do it meal by meal (instead of having to do all in one batch) and that I can do it using their mobile app (which allows me to do it the momemnt I've eaten, or while waiting for the bus, etc.
More accurately, Google Forms. I have a form that I fill (ideally...) once a day with a number of things I'm unable to record otherwise. This has proven to be the hardest to keep up to date. Since the form must be filled all at once, at the beginning of next day, It often gets forgotten... Using this I record:
- People I've met
The place where I've eaten
Mood, Stamina, Anger, Stress
Modes of transportation
Hours of work and of fun
Hours of TV
Movies I've seen and books I've read
This is, quite frankly, the part I'm more excited about recording. Whenever I'm outside, I have an app record a GPS track of my whereabouts. So, by now, I can (with an accuracy of a few meters...) tell exactly where I've was at any moment since Jan 1st 2011! I not only record the tracks, but also try to give semantics to the places I visit. I take daily notes of where I was whenever I wasn't out and about. All this is done with the help of custom python scripts that take care of the .gpx files, identify the endpoints of the tracks, and tries to guess the location semantics from locations it knows (from previous annotations) to be nearby. What do I do with this so far? Not much, but I have a few ideas ;) Right now, I do some heatmaps of the time I've spent at differnt places. Below is my last visit to San Francisco.
Here is where things have fallen short, so far. Collecting data is one thing. Making sense of it all is far harder. My goal: clean the data, and do some interesting (or, at least, meaningful) visualizations with it. Check here for more information in a while (I'll post something to the homepage letting you know).