Day 2 with Fitbit. With my normal Wii Fit, taking the elderly dog for a stroll, and moving around doing household tasks and shopping, I got green icons for Calories and Very Active Minutes, and moved into the yellow for steps and distance. Clearly, I don’t do 10,000 steps on a normal day.

But you can also hover over the icons and see where you are in terms of percentages. I was at 56% on Day 1 and 79% yesterday, so that’s progress.

I could walk to church today, or go for a hike.

Here’s the week from RescueTime:


I met my goals. More hours than I would like, still, but #1 son expects to be fully on board next week. Still, April was my longest-hours month ever: 233 working hours. The free version of RescueTime only lets me look at the past two months, so I know that this was my longest ever only because there was an announcement of the fact on the page. Still, 233 hours a month comes to a mere 54 hours a week, only a few more hours than my goal.

So my worktime and my movement are being automatically quantified, and I find the data useful.  I am supposed to track what I eat, as well. This is not automatic, though. I have to push the button on the phone at every meal and snack. After a year and a half of paying for the program, I still don’t do this anything like regularly. Here’s the proof:


So far in the month of June I have tracked a grand total of 17 meals. Mostly breakfast.

There are other things I could track. The quantified self movement likens health and wellness tracking to business intelligence:

In other words, instead of relying on intuition or feelings, you use data. Your company’s growth rate, web traffic, conversions, and even the way users interact with your homepage are all measured and analyzed. If you aren’t measuring key metrics you won’t manage progress and you can’t make the best decisions.

Our daily lives are no different. We want to make the best decisions, yet we lack appropriate data to guide us. –Mark Moschel

I was using Happier briefly, at the instigation of #2 daughter. I have but never use Mint. I use MyLibrary to track the books I read, but I only input one in every two or three. You can use KnitMeter to track how many miles of yarn you’ve knitted, though I never have. I had a goal of contacting 3 people each workday and of having a social event each week or fortnight or month or something which I’ve now forgotten, and I could probably track that somehow. Possibly here in my journal, one of the original manifestations of the quantified self.

Clearly, this could get silly, or self-obsessive in an unhealthy way, but automating much of it means less time spent thinking about it, and more data for times when we want to check on things. Off I go now, wearing my Fitbit, to have breakfast, which experience suggests I will remember to track with Balance. I probably won’t track anything else, but my automatic trackers will do it for me so that I can see, next week, whether I’m heading in the right direction for a healthy, productive life.

Or, perhaps, a continued healthy and productive life.