A few months back I mentioned starting to use Exist, a dashboard for tracking different areas of my life. Their tips were to give it about 60-90 days before you really start being able to track interesting correlations. What did I learn about myself? A quick recap of what I used to track:
Exist integrates with a lot of different tracking tools, from Todoist to RescueTime. Even the weather. The integrations I plugged in included:
RescueTime (both mobile and desktop tracking)
- Weather (via DarkSky)
- Fitbit (sleep data; physical activity; water consumption)
- Android app usage
- Daily mood (built into Exist)
You also have the ability to create and track custom tags. The ones I created to track were a bit random to the outsider but things I thought may be interesting to see if any correlations existed. There were a lot but a few I included:
- Whether or not I did night work
- Baby play
- Baby pickup
- Did I eat tacos? Pizza?
- Sleepy time tea before bed?
- Did I get up and workout before the day started?
- Did I spend time reading?
- Did I get to hang out with friends?
What Did I Learn About Myself?
There are a lot of correlations that you can come up with and track with Exist after a while. I could answer questions like "do I get more sleep when I eat pizza?" or "do I get more steps when it's warmer outside?". While there are dozens of things I learned, here are a few things that honestly surprised me or that I found interesting:
I have a better day (productivity and EOD mood) when it's raining outside
- My average time asleep is 7:05, just ahead of the global average of 6:54.
- My mood is better the more time I spend playing with Campbell
- My mood goes up as the amount of steps I take goes up. More activity = bettter mood.
- I'm more productive when I tweet more. Didn't see that coming.
- If I sleep less, I have more productive time.
- I have more active minutes when I eat pizza (on average)
- I wake up less during the night when I drink sleepy time tea
- When I have more time around friends, my day ratings (1-5) are higher
- My heart rate is lowest on Wednesdays; it's also the day I get up earliest on average (for whatever reason)
Would I Recommend Exist For Others?
Absolutely...but only if you already use other tracking services. If you aren't using Fitbit or a productivity tracking service, it's not as effective.
Also, having Exist on your Android phone is helpful. It tracks your phone behavior and provides correlation based on your usage. I don't know that the iOS app has the same functionality being on Apple's ecosystem.
All that said, I've been able to learn a lot about myself. I've also been able to see what habits help me the most. If you are into maximizing productivity or tracking what small behaviors impact bigger goals in life, it's a great place to start.