Tracking It All - Personal Metrics
Back in late 2016 I bought an apple watch and decided to get serious about tracking the things in my life, first and foremost - fitness. Not just because it was all the rave, but it was certainly an area I was lacking in. It was a really inspiring gadget and after a few weeks of tracking my food in MyFitnessPal, and Activity, I figured there would be some useful data I could learn from to improve my health. All the data imported into HealthKit data which was was awesome, but there was no meaningful way to view it or compare it from there.
Luckily around the same time that I bought the watch, Anand had just launched HealthKit support for Gyroscope. I immediately downloaded the app and quickly saw how tightly it integrated, it was awesome! After a short period of trying to figure out it’s “value” to me, it went on sale and I bought a pro subscription. From there I set up all the connections, linking everything I could to see if any meaningful information could be found; This is when I began tracking it all.
What you do with all this information is completely personal, for me, it’s helped me lose weight; realize that even though I may feel 'busy', i'm not getting a lot done; and of course how and where I spend my time (Bars & Friends). I now value my sleep more than ever as it directly correlates to productivity, and my resting heart rate is a great determining factor for stress and general health. Although some of this may be common sense, seeing and working with my own personal metrics made all the difference.
What’s all involved? Well, you basically buy or setup the following and let er roll:
Apple Watch - Essential to the mix, this is by far the best health tracker out there today with very active development and arguably the best sensors. It’s also a lot more than just a health tracker ;) *Google Fit also applicable here*
Rescue Time - This gave me some of the best insight in term of how I was actually spending my time in front of a screen. I installed it on both my work and personal computer, and within a week I knew exactly where I was wasting most of my time. I was able to make adjustments @ work to be more efficient, while also showing my boss how much time I was being pulled away from my desk. On my personal laptop I could see which weeks I was watching a bit too much Netflix, and I was able to see how much time per week I was putting into building MurphDev, sans distractions.
MyFitnessPal - Now owned by Under Armour this is one of the better applications i’ve found out there that tracks calorie intake and has a great database for scanning and entering food from restaurants. I’ve been using this for years, but only recently got serious about logging food daily. After about a month, you’ll see common trends and you can make adjustments to cut calories, take in more protein, less sodium, etc.
Moves - I LOVE MOVES. This app is so useful! Ever been somewhere spectacular but can’t exactly remember what trail you took to get there? What about that awesome restaurant your friend took you on your latest visit? Moves has your back. Like a little GPS memory. While it might be freaky to some people, I find it incredibly useful.
Gyroscope - The one that ties it all together. I love this app, it actually makes all those stats you’re tracking useful and puts it in one place. Meaningful charts, Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Yearly reports, and if you’ve had an incredibly successful period of time, you can even order some amazing artwork of your stats. Heck, even a hotspot map of your city could look amazing depending on how active you are.
On that note, I’ll land on my final point. Unless you really want to use this type of data, there is no reason to track it. It’s highly personal and while I see no use for it criminally, there’s the off chance that maybe it’s used against you at some point, but then again maybe it could help you just as well. PII is a weird one like that, especially location. Just use with caution, and I hope this helps you reach your goals! I’m getting there..... slowly :)