The Tools I use for the Quantified Self

August 12th, 2013 6 min readTools,Systems

The Quantified Self is a movement to incorporate technology into our daily lives for the additional purpose of capturing our own data using self-tracking tools, services, sensor devices etc.

So why should you track various forms of your life habits? Well for me, I see that google and facebook already know so much about me, so why can't I know more about myself. The purpose of the Quantified self is to make data-driven decisions based on what you've done in the past, to better shape your behaviors, habits and life style in the future.


RescueTime is an web-based automated time tracking and management tool. All you need to do is install the RescueTime software and you can track your use of time usage.The web site also has reports and analytics of your data.

I have been using rescue time for almost 3 years now and it has been awesome. It allows me to make the necessary decisions to shape my browsing habits. RescueTime gives me a big picture view of my browsing habits and provides me with information necessary to minimize unproductive browsing habits.

[caption id="attachment_616" align="aligncenter" width="1024"][ A 6 month look at my productivity with Rescuetime A 6 month look at my productivity with Rescuetime[/caption]

The above chart is from a recent time when I needed to take a serious look at my priorities. After graduation I took a month off to rest my brain a bit. Around this time I was also contacted by a top 5 tech company for a software engineering interview. I had a couple days to quickly switch out of a vacation mindset and be ready to do these interviews. To cut the story short.. I didn't do too well. I was very disappointed with myself because the particular challenges were things I know I am fully capable of doing. Instead of being depressed for weeks on end, I decided to take a look at how my time was spent the prior 5 months and saw that I wasn't coding as much as I should have and that social media was taking a big chunk of my attention. I decided to take a break from facebook to refocus my priorities and now "I always be coding".


iDoneThis is a simple email-based daily productivity tracking web application. Free and easy to use it offers users the ability to reflect on their daily accomplishment by simply replying to an email.

iDoneThis allows me to move from a state of motion to action. Instead of just listing goals or objectives, I am now more easily able to keep track of what I am getting done.

[caption id="attachment617" align="aligncenter" width="565"][![idonethis 1month word cloud](./idonethis892012.png) idonethis 1month word cloud[/caption] This iDoneThis word cloud is a 1 month snippet from the start of the summer. I spend my summers picking up different skill-sets that I normally wouldn't be exposed to on the job or at school. I like to read a lot, so it is dominant as well as the idea of taking action on objectives rather than just listing them, so the word "started" is also prominent.

Sleep Bot

SleepBot logs your sleep, tracks movement and sound, and wakes you up at the best time each day.

I use sleepbot to track my sleeping patterns and it has been very helpful. It was most useful during busy months of school or work. Sleepbot acted as a sort of guardrail while I was in school keeping track of my sleep debt. Sleepbot has additional features such as movement tracking and noise detection. I have not utilized those features yet, but I do see myself using them during frequent travels as I adjust my sleeping behavior to different environments.

Midterm vs Spring Break Sleepbot

You can also use sleepbot to experiment with,  How much sleep do we really need to work productively?


Mint is a web site to manage your money. Mint brings all your financial accounts together in one interface online. It automatically downloads data from your financial accounts and categorizes your transactions. It also helps you set budgets and helps you achieve your saving goals.

During my college years keeping track of my finances was extremely important. I setup my debit card with mint and the automated tracking and categorization of transactions with budgets was a life saver. If I felt like my expenses were too much, I was able to go into mint to figure out my spending habits to re-balance my budget. Mint would also give me warning and reports on my weekly spending.


The JEFIT Bodybuilding Application and JEFIT Website give users access to the tools needed to keep motivated in their workouts to help build muscle, lose weight, become more toned and overall create a healthier you. With the JEFIT Application, you are able to record and save your training logs and keep track of your lifting progress and body statistics.

I had previously recorded past fitness program metrics the primitive way, pen and paper. Overtime I began to lose records and although I did see good physical appearance gains, I couldn't quantify all the steps to if what was effective. I now use Jefit to keep track of all of my routines, experimenting with different workouts sets and repetitions. I am now able to visualize my strength progress as well as point out patterns of under-performance notifying me where I may need to improve upon.

Myfitness Pal

MyFitnessPal is a free smartphone app and website that tracks diet and exercise to determine optimal nutrients and caloric intake for the users goals.

Hundreds of thousands of people use MyFitnessPal to lose weight. I however, used it an alternative way, to put on good pounds when I was bulking during my conditioning program. I have been using it seasonally in this case, usually during the spring or summers when I have more time to train and eat more. MyFitnessPal helped me to put on healthy weight by giving me a full nutritional breakdown as well as specifying high calorie and carb goals to meet.

I hope some of the tools or uses I've mentioned can help you in some way to better shape your life. What are some cool services or ways you use technology to make data-driven decisions? Comment down below.

#image #productivity

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