Friday, May 20, 2011

My foray into Quantified Self research

So this is really cool - with the advent of the high speed internet in your pocket smartphone, everybody can do their own quantified self research with ease and convenience. Forget apps, it's even simpler than that. Just make a google docs form . You can choose anything about yourself that you want to track - for instance, say water intake. You can make a form that has inputs (type of your choosing - check box, radio button, text, etc) corresponding to what you want to track. Every time anybody fills out the form, a line will be added to a google docs spreadsheet with the info that they filled out.
The trick here is, give yourself and no one else the url for your form. Bookmark it on your smartphone. Fill it out all day long, whenever appropriate. I've been tracking all my bodily inputs and outputs, as well as mood, sleep habits, and a couple other things. I generate about 10 or 15 lines on the spreadsheet a day. The form takes about 15 seconds to fill out, which I do during downtime (like while I'm peeing...).
At the end of the month, I'll have more than 400 datapoints. Since it's in a spreadsheet already, no extra tabulation is necessary. As long as you design your form/spreadsheet combo with some insight, you'll be able to learn things about yourself that you never knew before.

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