Something something quantified self something something
May 6, 2010 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Hello MeFites. Lately, I've become interested in the idea of "Quantified Self", essentially, self tracking. A diary of daily events, such as when I woke up, how much coffee I've had, my productivity level and so forth. I'd like to collect some of this data to see if I can deduce some patterns. Maybe when I drink coffee, I go to bed later, and I'm not as productive for example. To achieve this, I think I need a piece of software.

Some random thoughts on what I'd want:

- free or reasonably priced.

- possibly iPhone or web based

- flexible enough to support variety of data (eg: today I'm tracking my wakeup time, tomorrow I'll decide to add my weight to the list of trackables and a week after that something else).

- reporting abilities to see what things influence each other.

- lightweight interface (?) -- data entry should be easy and quick, otherwise it won't get used.

Now, I may be over-thinking it. Possible simpler solutions include:

- a regular paper notepad: Long term reporting will be difficult.

- Excel: don't really know how to use it.

- free relational database (mysql?): supports the data model, but reporting and interface would have to be customized.

Summary: Wow, long. Is there a piece of software that will let me log a lot of tiny events and allow me to understand the relationship between them? Have you done anything like this? Thanks.
posted by aeighty to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Is it Daytum. Check out it's mobile device optimised interface, too.
posted by oxit at 10:32 AM on May 6, 2010

You can do this using Your Flowing Data which uses Twitter as the interface.
posted by amethysts at 10:33 AM on May 6, 2010

2nding Daytum. This is the simplest and most versatile one I tried. You can give the free version a try (less tracking items, one page) to see if you like it. You can export your data into a .csv format.
posted by smalls at 10:47 AM on May 6, 2010

Best answer: Here is a long list of tools. See which, if any, do what you want!
posted by wyzewoman at 11:09 AM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

Google spreadsheets is good, flexible and learning to use it is a nice skill. I've been using it to track my diet and weight and whatnot for a few months. Advantages? Free, plays with Excel, probably won't be going away anytime soon.

Daytum looks pretty sweet, though. I'm totally going to play with it now.
posted by pjaust at 11:10 AM on May 6, 2010

I set up one in Google docs - I created a form that populates a spreadsheet. I had some trouble coming up with everything I wanted to track, but it's painless to add new things. Plus, it's free and accessible from anywhere with login.
posted by bookdragoness at 12:40 PM on May 6, 2010

Here is a MeFi post and some supporting links about guy who sounds like he's doing just what you are asking about:
The Quantified Life, The Data Driven Life, The Quantified Self, some examples of pages.

He started with a basic calendar app to record events as they happened instead of future events.
posted by zoel at 1:08 PM on May 6, 2010

I am kind of obsessed with this sort of thing. I like,, and at the moment.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 2:39 PM on May 6, 2010

You might take a look at mycrocosm, a tool for just this sort of personal data tracking.
posted by yourcelf at 1:59 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

mite - I've a subscription, it's focused on time-tracking.
posted by yoHighness at 4:41 PM on May 7, 2010

mite - English
posted by yoHighness at 4:42 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of and I tried out Daytum, but Daytum is just plain ugly to me. Now I'm using GoogleDoc/Excel spreadsheets. Much more versatile and you can customize it all you want. Just put a column for each piece of data you want to track: eg. column A = today's date, column B = waking up time, column C = cups of coffee, etc. You can get some interesting statistics and charts with simple Excel formulas. (For example, I spent 22 hours on my garden this year, read 3157 pages and sleep on average 7,7 hours - which is not as bad as I thought!)
posted by gakiko at 12:21 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing Google Docs spreadsheets + forms. Infinite flexibility and ease of transferring the data to your analysis software of choice. It automatically timestamps when the form is filled out, too, which lends itself to tracking time spent doing X, Y or Z. Easy access from iPhone once you bookmark the form link.
posted by dino might at 5:11 PM on May 10, 2010

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