Quantified Self and Me

I have become quite serious about this whole Quantified Self movement. I guess as a developer it is easy to be caught up in that. And I have in large periods of time use RescueTime to monitor myself, but at times used more time analyzing the rescuetime data, than I saved from selfmonitoring. (I actually had to set up rescuetime as unproductive in rescuetime).

Lately I have been working on three things.

  1. Stop distractions when working.

  2. Monitor my effectiveness when working.

  3. Hacking motivation for goals.

Stop Distractions

This has proved quite easy. There are two kinds of distractions - the people around you (physical/actual human beings in the room with you), and the internet. If you work in an office and on a computer (as a programmer) it is often not a possibility to shut either off. So you need to manage it. I do two things. When working, I usually wear my headset - and my colleagues actually respect that when I am wearing that, it means only important disturbtions may go through - the rest of the time I am open for chitchat, or whatever other disturbances occurs. My internet is managed by using the Concentrate App - I work in bursts of 25 minutes, and thus I use my Alfred workflow to start a 25 minute pomodoro which closes all unrelevant applications, and blocks access to all social media, news sites and blogs I visit often - and opens my editor. For the next 25 minutes all I can do is work.

Monitor my effectiveness when working

I love data. And when I found SelfSpy I was almost in love. It runs all the time, monitoring my computer use, and lets me query for how fast I type based on certain criteria. E.g. this post was written in 28 minutes, with 4728 keystrokes in 55 key sequences. I will use this to setup goals for my self in the near future. This serves two purposes. 1. Help me focus on becomming a better typist and 2. to focus on actually typing when working. (Meaning, I should not sit with my editor open, and not type - that is an indication that I forgot to think - just a little - before trying to code)

Hacking motivation

I have been reading The Motication Hacker and it is (so far) awesome (no I have not finished it). I have never read a book that wanted me to take action on the points in the book so fast ever before. (And I have read almost everything in this field). Wether it works is hard to say, but I have tried to set up some process goals for myself to test this. They are all managed with Beeminder, which (now when I have used it for about 12 hours) looks very promissing. It is a Quantified Self tracking tool with reminders attached. Oh, and if you fall of the waggon, it will cost you.

My goals are so far:

  • Wake up before 6 at least three times a week

  • Read at least 120 minutes a week

  • Practice guitar at least an hour a week

  • Make at least one commit to my blog a week. (A post, or a design/code change)

  • Make at least three commits to any of my github repos

  • Make at least 100 kettlebell swings a week

  • Loose at least 0.76 kg a week

Most of them are things I do already, but I am not tracking how much - I may very well add more goals soon, and I may adjust these once as well. The last one (the weightloss) will be the hardest, because it is not a process goal per se, which means I need to add a few good habits as goals here, to ensure I can do this one.