To Measure Or Not

I recently came across a blog featured on Freshly Pressed called The Unquantified Self.  There is also at least one web site on the quantified self.  I stumbled on the idea of a quantified self a year or so ago.  I was intrigued and jumped right in tracking calories, weight, BMI, dollars, steps, flights of stairs, servings of proteins, grains, fruits, veggies, heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, workouts at the gym, and so on.  I eventually pulled back because I felt that there were too many daily tracking tasks that I HAD TO DO.  I’ve been a government bureaucrat since 1975, and I have had enough of having to do things imposed by others to say nothing of those imposed by myself.  I know that in order to live a healthy, satisfying life that there are things one must do.  For me, shortly before retirement, the quantified self movement and the unquantified self blog are helping me to narrow down my “have to dos” so that I don’t unnecessarily overburden myself.  Where is my sweet spot of “have to dos”.  I use a Fitbit, so I don’t have to think about tracking steps and flights of stairs.  I just have to sync my Fitbit regularly – I doesn’t have to be done every day.  I have recently started using Mint.com because I have been spending too recklessly lately.  The Unquantified Self says that

I have not actually discovered any interesting, unexpected correlations. Whatever I’ve figured out is bleeding obvious: when I don’t get enough sleep I feel crappy the next day. When I eat more calories than I expend I gain weight. Big data, no insights.

I know that I could slash my spending by drinking less beer, eating at restaurants less often, using the library instead of constantly buying books that I don’t keep, buying less clothing. and so on.  I really don’t need Mint.com to tell me how to spend more wisely.  I also know that I can control my spending more if I use cash and spend only the amount of cash budgeted for a pay period, and avoid using my debit card as much as possible.  Again, I don’t need Mint.com to tell me those things.  I think ‘ve come very close to talking myself into not using Mint.com.

Here are some more thoughts from The Unquantified Self:

I got sucked into a black hole of obsessive tracking. This blog is my attempt to find my way back to an untracked, uncharted, unmeasured life of audacity and adventure. Less counting, more living.

After my experience with tracking over the last few months, “less counting, more living” works for me.

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