This week we did a podcast on the Quantified Self and lifelogging, something I’ve been interested in ever since I read Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell’s book Total Recall: How the E-memory Revolution Will Change Everything. We’re in a place and time where documenting our lives has never been easier. Smart phones and ‘always on technology’ make it easy for us to document everything and with memory, both in the cloud and physically, getting cheaper, we don’t have to worry about running out space to store all the things we document.
In this post, I’ll share with you some of the apps I use to quantify myself. I talk about these on the podcast, but here’s a quick list for you to check out:
Optimized is probably my favourite of the lifelogging and quantified self apps because you can track everything here. It comes already configured with four major categories – Health, Creativity, Routine, and Pleasure. There’s a ton sub-categories under each of these headings. Plus you can customise the app to track whatever like.
Optimized – Lifelogging and Quantified Self app helps you record your life to improve it. Simply track your everyday activities, places you visit, people you meet, your mood and many other things. Optimized automatically translates your lifelogging data into your personal insights: How does walking affect your sleep? How does your work influence your health? How do other people affect your mood? Optimized answers all of these and many more questions to provide you with decision support and motivation in your everyday life. Optimized respects your privacy – All your data stays locally inside the app.
My next used app is Reporter. I like it because it randomly prompts you throughout your day to record what you’re doing at any given moment. This is cool because you get to see the frequency of what you’re tracking. Reporter is also customisable so you track what’s important to you. It’s not as colourful as Optimized and doesn’t track the duration, just the instance. But the random prompt is the selling point for me.
Reporter is an application for tracking the things you care about. With a few randomly timed surveys each day, Reporter can illuminate aspects of your life that might be otherwise unmeasurable.
The beauty of Memento as a lifelogging app is that in addition to your manual entries, it pulls from your social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Swarm among others. You can use it as a dairy or daily journal. I mainly use it for the automatic collating of my social media feeds, plus taking a photo at the random prompts that happen throughout the day.
Introducing Momento — the smart private diary/journal app that helps you capture and collect memories to search, explore, relive and share your life story. Momento not helps you privately capture moments in just a few taps (with notes, photos, videos, people, places and tags).
I don’t have an Apple Watch yet, so to capture my heart rate data, I use Heart Rate Plus. I check my resting heart rate and occasional capture my heart rate after exercising.
Check your heart rate anytime, anywhere with Heart Rate Plus – at your home or your office – when you wake up, relax, before and after exercise, or before a big meeting. Bet you never thought your phone could do that? The Heart Rate Plus app will measure your heartbeat with great accuracy.
I use Activ8lives to track my weight, BMI, BMR, Body Fat, Muscle %, Bone Mass, Visceral Fat, Water %. This app works in conjunction with the Body Analyser Bluetooth Smart Scales. Tracking your body composition is much better than tracking your body weight only.
Activ8rlives supports you in monitoring, maintenance and self-management of health, activity, weight and wellbeing. You can track and monitor a wider range of health parameters (steps, blood pressure, blood glucose, peak flow, oxygen saturation and temperature) and export them to Apple’s Health App.
I’m a gym rat. To track my weightlifting activity I use Gym Hero Pro. I like the depth of stats it allows you to track plus you can pre-schedule your workouts so you don’t have to spend time manually inputing everything in the heat of iron pumping. There’s also a social element, but I haven’t used this feature. Gym Hero Pro is app and web-based. I pay for the premium version of the app, but there is a free version. You get less stats, which is fine unless you’re gym freak like me.
Track workouts and boost your progress with Gym Hero Pro! Now with Apple Health Kit support! No more getting lost in long lists of workouts and exercises! Log your routines and keep track of your progress. Select sets, weight and repetitions in seconds.
My wearable fitness tracker of choice is the Garmin Vivoactive GPS Smart Watch. I’ve been using the Vivoactive for over a year now. I bought it as an alternative to buying the Apple Watch because I was primarily interested in the fitness tracking functions. Reading my texts and emails on my watch was secondary. The Garmin does mirror your smart devices notifications so if that’s your thing you will be able to read a snippet of your email, texts, tweets, Facebook messages etc. You can view all your tracked activity via the Garmin Connect app which synchs with watch via Bluetooth.
Meeting goals made easier: The newest version of Garmin Connect Mobile is designed to help you to focus even more clearly on your fitness and healthy living goals. All the data you rely on is easy to find and access on the app.
So why bother with all of this tracking? It’s twofold for me. One I think it’s a robust way of documenting your life. Think of it as a mega version of the old school diary/journal. Imagine what it would mean to your future grand kids and their kids, especially when you add in audio and video lifelogging. You’re essentially creating the museum of YOU for future generations to experience.
The second reason for quantified self and lifelogging is to highlight areas of your life that might be out of balance and need addressing and the objective data you collect will be able to highlight these areas to you so you can do something about it.
Ok so those are my reasons, over to you.
I’d be interested to know which quantified self and lifelogging apps you use. Let me know in the comments. Would also love to hear your thoughts on lifelogging and quantified self in general.