The internet today is practically crammed with information that anyone can browse, and one of the more popular topics of late is that of the Quantified Self and how it relates to actual efforts to gain and maintain a healthy outlook in life. As the Quantified Self movement advocates the monitoring of daily activities to derive numeric values, devices and apps that help track and record these numeric values are bound to become in demand among the public.
This surge in interest and desire to purchase these devices and apps, however, begs the question; what does one get to really maximize on self-tracking efforts, and ensure that it does go the way of other such trends, which is eventual obscurity?
Here are a few questions you may need to ask yourself about a potential self-tracking device you are planning to get.
Do you think you can wear it always?
For the device to be of actual use, it has to be worn as much as possible, since self-tracking does involve gathering and monitoring data about yourself every waking moment. This why is is imperative to pick one that you think you could wear most of the time, if not always. This may prove to be not much of a problem since most self-tracking devices today are designed to be lightweight and not cumbersome in any way.
This means that the question of wearing it frequently becomes a matter of choice. With numerous variants and selections out in the market today, be sure to find one that appeals to you the most, and would seem that you can wear it all the time for purposes of accurate and on time tracking.
Does it really motivate you?
Many of these devices are fashionable, and are not much of a bother to wear, but beyond that, does it really serve its purpose? Even more, does it motivate you to continue doing what you are doing? Far from just being a flashy paraphernalia you get to wear whenever you want to, whatever device you pick to help you with your self-tracking should also serve to motivate you in your efforts. Is the data you need being displayed in a manner that encourages you to do better? Is it quite easy to discern just how much progress you are doing? Is it easy to upload the data for comparison and long term tracking?
Some devices actually allow the easy sharing of data over the internet through an app that displays your progress straight to any social media account you might have. The benefit of this is that you are able to partake of the social motivation. By seeing the progress of others, and allowing others to see yours, you are able to encourage each other to to further and better efforts.
Do you see it playing any other part than being a data tracker?
Most devices on the market today are designed to be worn like wristwatches, mainly for purposes of convenience. This being the case, does your device do anything other than track your pertinent data? Does it have any other utility to it? It is durable enough to be used in practically any activity you would want to participate in, regardless of intensity? Is the design something that allows you to wear it wherever you may be, be it in a casual or rugged setting, or even when you have to dress up and look formal?
Lapses are things that sometimes cannot be avoided, and the sometimes the best excuse not to wear your self-tracking device is that it “clashes with what you are wearing”. This being the case, it would be prudent to either get something that you believe can go with anything you wear, or if you really must go without it, find some other way that you can track your needed data even without your usual tracking device, like from an app on your mobile phone, or something similar.