Getting Started with Quantified Self

How can you get started with Quantified Self? Don’t worry, you don’t have to build your own system or use fancy tools. You can start with pen and paper, and use a simple spreadsheet to analyze your data.

Even if you don’t start with a clear question, sometimes tracking data helps you see patterns. When you collect data, then you can change something in your life and see if it has any effect.

Here are some ideas:

  • Track the time you go to bed, the time you woke up, and whether you felt tired after waking up.
  • Track how many glasses of water you drink a day.
  • Track how many steps you take each day. A pedometer makes this easier.
  • Track the groceries you buy in one month. How much do you spend on different categories?
  • Track the clothes you wear. Do you have a handful of favourites? Are there clothes you never use?

Give it a try and see what you discover!

  • Tracking personal data can reveal some surprising facts about yourself. Here are some more things I track

    – Record details of all the money you spend, down the last cent. It is amazing how those takeaway coffees can cost each month
    – Arrival time, departure time at the office (and lunch breaks). You may find you are spending a lot more or lot less time at the office than you thought
    – What you eat each day – to calculate calories, fat, sugar, protein, etc intake

  • Justin

    Neat article, thanks for introducing me to the concept.

  • I just got a fuel band! Not only does it track steps, it also tracks calories and “fuel points” (a measure of exertion, standardized so you can compete with friends). It syncs to my phone and I get a handy graph of my activity, and I can add how I feel that day too. Handy because I can get an idea of my daily activity level and my sleeping patterns. Sadly not available in Canada yet, but I love it – definitely recommend!