23 Personal Tools to Learn More About Yourself

September 12, 2008  |  Self-surveillance

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In the not too distant past, the Web was all about sharing, broadcasting, and distribution. The tide is turning. The Web is moving towards the individual. Applications spring up every month that let people track, monitor, and analyze their habits and behaviors in hopes of gaining a better understanding about themselves and their surroundings.

We saw what data can be recorded in the personal visualization project. Some data lend themselves to easy tracking while others are easier to monitor with the aid of an application. These 23 tools, to track the minutiae of everyday life, try to fill that niche.

Is it information overflow or are we learning more about ourselves?

Track Everything In Your Life

Applications to record data pretty much about anything and everything seem to be coming all at once.

Daytum

Daytum, by Nicholas Felton, is based on Felton's annual Feltron report. Data entry is manual and makes heavy use of the Google charting API.

mycrocosm

mycrocosm is a project from the MIT Social Media Group that is similar in spirit to Daytum. The main difference is the interface. Users send Twitter-like messages via SMS or email to add to their personal datasets.

Me-trics

Me-trics is described as a Google Analytics for, well, you. It's sort of an aggregator of all your personal data from applications like RescueTime, Twitter, etc. You can also enter data manually, and then it does some statistical voodoo (which sort of worries me) to find correlations. Not so sure about that part. It will offer an API, however.

Time Management

Let's face it. We all waste time, and when we do, we feel like a lazy bum. There are plenty of applications that help you keep track of how you spend your minutes.

Basecamp

Most of us have heard of Basecamp, which is used by many for project management.

RescueTime

I use RescueTime pretty much all the time. Start it up, run it in the background, and visit your dashboard to find how many hours you spent watching YouTube last week. Shameful.

Trixie Tracker

Ok, Trixie Tracker isn't for you specifically. It's designed to monitor your baby's habits – poo, pee, sleep, and eating. However, I can see how an adult might find it useful... or at least senior citizens.

Twitter Charts

What are your peak tweeting hours? Find out with Twitter Charts.

Wakoopa

Wakoopa is sort of like RescueTime, but I think it's more about the video games.

Health

You want to live a long and healthy life, don't you? You better keep track of your bodily functions and what not.

Mon.thly.info

Mon.thly.info is an application for women to keep track of their monthly cycles and stuff. I'm out of my element on this one.

MyMonthlyCycles

Bedpost

I think I read that people who have sex more often live longer, so you better um, stay up-to-date.

Sleep

I, myself, have pretty weird sleep habits, so I should probably take a look into these. The Sleeptracker is a little pricey for me though. I might consider purchasing a Fitbit though, which is a pedometer slash sleep tracking thingy. Not sure yet. Like Me-trics, it was introduced at TechCrunch50 and is still private.

Sleep Tracker

FitBit

Emotions

I'm happy. Now I'm sad. Wait no, I'm happy. I'm perplexed. Confused. Crazy. Happy again. Oh life, you are an emotional roller coaster you are.

Moodstats

Record your moods and evaluate over time with Moodstats.

lifemetric

lifemetric is similar to Moodstats, although it sort of has a social component to it too.

Exercise

Oh man, I seriously need to monitor this. I have a gym membership, but I don't even remember the last time I went. I do know my waste size is getting bigger though.

Traineo

Use Traineo to track what you eat, how you exercise, calories lost, and all that good stuff.

FitDay

MotionBased

From Garmin, MotionBased lets you upload GPS data and keep track of your (should-be-daily) runs in the park.

Nike+

I haven't used Nike+, but it seems really popular and a cool concept. You put something on your shoe, connect it your iPod and you get feedback as you run.

FatSecret

I actually do use FatSecret sometimes. Several months back I set my goal weight to 10 pounds less than I am now. My weight graph is literally straight across.

Finance

More money, more problems. Seriously.

Mint

To keep track of my billions of dollars, I use Mint, which grabs data from your bank, credit cards, and investments.

Travel

With all our environmental concerns, we should all be aware of our driving patterns.

CarChip

Plug CarChip into your car and it automatically records your driving behavior like speed, braking, etc.

My Mile Marker

I know there are a lot of people who write down their mileage and money spent after each gas fillup. My Mile Marker takes that data and helps you make sense of it.

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