Ben Franklin did it over a quarter of a millennium ago, and you can do it too! No, not fly a kite in a thunderstorm—track personal data in areas like health and fitness to help improve and answer questions you have about yourself. The new trend of quantifying your life by tracking your personal information focuses on controlling your health. Do you wonder why you can’t lose weight? How about why you feel sluggish at work? Answering these questions could be as simple as punching a few numbers into your phone over the course of a week.
Some of us have embraced the technology of the smart phone app and some of us haven’t, but many of these apps can be useful for tracking personal data. It can be as simple as tracking how many drinks you have had in an evening or how many calories you consume in a day.
Track your activity from day to day with this mobile app. If you sit in an office all day, you probably need to move around more, so tracking yourself with this app can help you see where you need to improve. Just seeing the difference between where you are and where you want to be can motivate you to change your habits. Here’s one example of the kind of data you collect over the course of the day:
2. Drink Control
There are a lot of ways to track your alcohol intake. Some work and some don’t, and some people just can’t find one that works for them. This app works to monitor the number of drinks you’ve had, as well as the amount of actual alcohol consumed. It can help you stay under your personal limit and the legal limit, if used correctly. Though it isn’t for alcohol treatment, this app can help you monitor your alcohol intake and make adjustments to improve your habits.
3. Rescue Time
Not enough hours in the day? Try Rescue Time to get an accurate picture of what you do every day on your mobile devices or computer to see where you may waste time, where you can improve efficiency, and how you can increase your productivity at work and in your personal life.
Marketed as a new kind of personal diary, this app tracks the things that matter most to you, helping you to see where you are happiest and to make decisions that affect your life accordingly. Just punching in some things about you can give you a more accurate picture of your life and what is good for you.
5. Sleep Cycle
This isn’t just an app that tracks your sleep; it actually helps you wake up when it will feel the most natural. Setting a regular alarm clock can wake you when you are in a deep sleep, making you feel as though you are being jarred awake. Waking that way can cause you to feel less rested and more sluggish than waking naturally. The app uses the accelerometer in your smart phone to gauge when you are in the lightest phase of sleep to wake you more easily and help you feel more refreshed.
For any question you might have about your life, there’s an app to track it! Today, it’s so easy to track your health and well-being. Whether using spreadsheets, apps or a paper and pencil, quantifying your life is easier than ever, and using these resources is a great way to live a healthier life.