Viewing posts for the category personal tracking
2016 was the first year that I had and actually really tried to stick to any new years resolutions. I made 5 and was able to stick to 4 of them, the last uncompleted one was more of a goal and may yet be completed. I never wrote those with the intention of sharing them, but this year I am going to.
I believe an important part of picking resolutions is making sure they are defined in such a way where you can absolutely say whether they were completed or not. For example instead of something like "exercise more" I would write "run more than 500 miles tracked on Strava". Very easy to determine the success condition. So here it is, my 5 resolutions for 2017!
1. Write and publish something every day.
Success condition: Post count for 2017 on davidkircos.com is > 365 on Jan 1, 2018.
This one is going to be the hardest. Because of that, I am going to leave it the least specifically defined. This does not mean I am going to write a full blog post every day, even tweet-length posts count. As part of this, I'm going to stop automatically posting to Facebook and Twitter. I'll only share certain posts there.
2. Read 36 books.
Success condition: This Good Reads Challenge is completed.
I love reading, I have never been intentional about making it a habit. Now I am going to try. If you're wondering why 36, that is about one book every 10 days. My very rough book theme this year is "Important things we rarely think about." Which includes things along the lines of farming, history, infrastructure, how other countries governments' work, microscopic fabrication, religion, etc.
3. Music purge. Listen to (and play) all new music.
Success condition: Have my Spotify library filled with new music on Jan 1, 2018.
For the last couple years, I feel like I have been stuck in a music rut. I've been listening to mainly the same stuff over and over again, not making any effort to listen to new music. This year I'm going to try to listen to only music that I have not heard before. I've gone through Spotify and removed all my saved songs. I am relying mainly on Spotify radio and playlists to discover new content. By the end of the year, I hope to have a whole new library of music I enjoy listening to. I've been in a similar rut with music that I play on the piano. Part of this resolution is learning to play new stuff too.
4. Run a marathon.
Success condition: Complete a marathon without stopping running.
As I said after running the Detroit half-marathon, I intended to run the Athens Marathon this November. Furthest I've ever run is a half marathon, so this is the next logical step :)
5. #GiveFirst 10%.
Success condition: (breaking my own rule) this one will be mostly judged by gut.
Give 10% of my time and money to organizations which I believe will contribute to one of the 6 things measured in this graphic. If at the end of the year I feel I have slacked giving 10% of my time, I'll make up percentage points by giving more money proportionally.
Here's to a great new year!
Since April I've been using the Sleep Cycle app as my primary alarm clock. Basically, the app uses the microphone to try and tell when you are not in REM (deep) sleep to sound the alarm clock. You get to set a 30mn window during which you would like to wake up, and it tries to wake you at the most pleasant time. About 50% of the time I wake up at the last minute of the time window and feel just as groggy as I normally do waking up. The other 50% of the time though I wake up during light sleep and feel much better! I've been recommending the app for the past few months.
At it's very worst, it's still better than the default alarm clock. Another thing I like, although probably not billed as a feature, is that when the alarm is active if you switch to another app it shows in the top bar. Which acts as a gentle reminder that I shouldn't be using my phone right before sleeping. I've been working towards not having any electronics in my bedroom at all, but frankly it's hard and I'm not there yet.
Another added benefit of using Sleep Cycle is that you can actually export your sleep quality data. Which includes: Start Time, End Time, Sleep Quality (a percentage metric they made up), Time in Bed, and Activity (number of steps the iPhone pedometer recorded that day).
A project I'm working on is tracking some key personal metrics over time, the first one I've talked about here is my happiness. Sleep is another fun one, this is my raw data from Sleep Cycle. I'll refresh the Google Sheet periodically with new data.
It's nice to see that my average (and median) sleep times are both about 7.5 hours. This is what I believe is healthy for me, and I intend to keep it up. Meaning I'll have about 16 waking hours a day. Best to not waste too much of that time merely keeping track of it :)
I first read this quote a few years back and it is something that I think about regularly.
There is, however, an important caveat. Deciding on what is measured and watched is just as important. Tracking the wrong metric and optimizing for the success of that metric can be catastrophic.
A big part of starting blogging is that it forces me to formalize the things that I am thinking about. Lately, I have been thinking about tracking different personal metrics over a long period of time. The first one I want to track is my happiness.
The happiness tracker is a simple piece of software that I wrote in about an hour this evening. All it does is remind me at the end of each day to answer the question "How happy were you today? (1-10)". Happiness, I decided, is an excellent metric to optimize for.
My answer to that daily question lives here: davidkircos.com/happiness
Eventually, I hope to show the data in a clearer format and potentially ask other questions to myself every day. Or even use this same mechanism to help stay on track for yearly goals
For now, I am just going to track daily happiness. Today was a great day, I spent most of the day relaxing with some close friends I have known for over 5 years. 8/10