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The quantified self
as an extended brain...
A couple of days ago, I talked about the concept of “Extended Mind (or Extended Brain)”. There is actually a movement called the Quantified Self. Over the last 10 years, I have unconsciously followed some of these approaches to develop tools and techniques that assist me with the challenges and/or limitations that I have in my design.
It is based on the belief that anything that is measurable can be improved. Though over the years I have improved to believe that the measurements are only one of the data points and in several cases, you do need to look at all the measurements together as a whole, as a complete system.
Nearly ten years ago, I started with a step counter band called the Jawbone UP, a company that went defunct about five years ago. Generally, the focus is on health and the Quantified Selfers start with things like Food consumed Calories, Distance, Number of steps taken, Mood, Blood oxygen levels, Glucose levels, Sleep patterns, and Fitness levels.
However, the biggest extension of this concept is to measure human productivity. There is no one tool to do this and I started measuring this using different tools for calendaring, to-do lists, Pomodoro apps, and the one I talked about a couple of days ago - Toggl. I did spend the last couple of days building up this portion of my extended brain to figure out how I can start from the zero minutes of productive work that I do to a level of performance that would be extremely valuable to me.
Over the last couple of days, I have determined the logging and reporting structure and have started logging time since yesterday. Once I start a timer on the tasks, this extended brain tool helps bring focus in completing the task (part of it or in total). Something in the real brain is someway wired to this clocked electronic task elsewhere on my phone.
I shall start discussing the graphical reports after a week of progress. But it has been good so far. From two hours of productive work yesterday to over 5 hours today. Though the report shows me that except for these posts everything has been logged as #mundane (and demotivating)
Quantified self-movement - https://quantifiedself.com/
Quantified self - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantified_self