Calories, sleep, money, cigarettes, fertility. You name it. Today, you can track everything in your life.
Using one of the thousands of mobile apps, you can get a decent picture of who you are (or who you want to be), what you do (or don’t do properly, on time, never..), where you go (or want to go), what you need to change (or don’t have to), and so on. The smartphones we know today far exceeded the capabilities that we ever imagined a few years ago. The possibilities are endless as we make our phones track every aspect of our lives and our virtual personalities.
What is the first thing many of us do in the morning? I believe this is a rhetorical question for many of us. From maintaining a workout diary, managing finances, tracking and fending off our bad habits, creating our healthy diets, and looking into our overall health, getting the job done on time, organizing our day, keeping important info at our fingertips (literally) – our lives became easier with growing number of apps that are created to keep our lives on track.
Let me just point out that by 2018 there will be 60 million fitness trackers in use around the world. It’s as scary as it sounds. For the last 20 years, the Internet focused on collecting information data and organizing them in an easily and instantly accessible way. But, how much data do we need?
Largely this is the question of control. When you gather data and reduce it into numbers, it’s easier to have a control over your daily routine, or work, or any other aspect of your life, but, by control, I mean the control of the choices. In numerous situations this is of enormous help, if, for instance, it can stop you from overindulging in chocolate cookies. If you are working on two or more project at the same time, it can help you get the job done on time.
You can track a lot of different things these days, however, you probably don’t need to track everything you think you do. It’s good to have a helping hand, but it’s also true you can easily overdo it instead of using it in a healthy and balanced way.
Before you get too excited with another calorie-tracking app you bought, first stop and think about the problem you need to solve. Data is useless unless you can solve your problem or improve your life.
The future will be quantified, and the idea of “quantified self” is a reality. But if you’re going to track how many kilometres your ran and have no real use of that data, remember that our bodies are designed to move and you can run for the pleasure of running, not knowing how long or how fast.
Over at Vouchercloud they did a pretty good job compiling a list of the top 50 apps that track everything in our lives. As you can see, some of these apps are helpful (and free), yet some are utterly scary. Think about the problem you need to solve, take a look at infographic, and see if there is an app that could help. There probably is.
There are obvious benefits to this quantified self, first of which is the overall improvement of different aspects of life, but there are aspects of life that need no quantity, but quality.