Metatalktail Hour: Quantified Self May 5, 2018 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, aniola asks, "What data do you track about yourself? Eg., books read, places visited, eating out, etc." And why that data!

Alternate question: What did you do with yourself during the Great MetaFilter Outage of 2018?
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 4:25 PM (110 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

I always mean to be good about personal tracking things, but I'm really lazy about keeping them up. I did track all my reading one year for fun, but I think I'd lose interest tracking it all all the time. Plus I have a pretty good memory for what I've read. I actually track TV and movies more closely b/c I have a terrible memory for film-type media, so I forget what I want to see and forget what I've already seen all the dang time.

I do have a book called The Book of Feasts in which I write down the menu of each weekly(ish) family feast we have, the names of guests, and any comments on the food or the occasion. It's fun! And I'd like to get a big white tablecloth for holidays and some laundry pens, and have people sign their names at every holiday, and stitch over the signatures -- I've seen people do that and I love it.

I was supposed to be working for the last couple hours of the outage so I sat with my laptop and watched a Jackie Chan movie with Mini and Micro McGee, who are super into Jackie Chan right now.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:31 PM on May 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

I only track my running using Strava. Everything else I like to just kind of let happen. Oh that's not exactly true. I obsessively check my app downloads daily even though I don't make any money and they aren't that popular. But one of my apps just reached 5,000 downloads, so that's...something.

Oh, not directly related, but funny (to me), before I was married I used to collect people's profile pictures when I would find them in the street. Back then (maybe now too?) there were a lot of photo booths for ID pictures in subway stations, and people would often drop/discard extra pictures on the ground. I had a big paper map of Seoul and would put the picture on the map where I found it. It looked just like a serial killer map! Unfortunately my wife, for some unknown reason, didn't like this at all and made me get rid of it. I kept it hidden in the bottom of a drawer for years, but we have moved several times and I think it must have gotten thrown away at some point because I haven't seen it in a while. Oh well.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:39 PM on May 5, 2018 [5 favorites]

I have a spreadsheet that uses a social security actuarial table to estimate my date of death based on my attained age as of the current day. It also summarizes this info in the form of a percent-of-life-lived estimate. I'm going to hit 50.0% this year.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:06 PM on May 5, 2018 [13 favorites]

I'm really bad at tracking things even though I really like the idea of doing so. In particular because the one thing I'm able to do reasonably consistency has really changed my life: Clue is at least for me reliable enough that it has given me a lot more perspective on how my hormones impact a lot of things that I used to consider unpredictable and scary. And like--you know, if I know my period is due on a particular day, and I know my anxiety goes through the roof the few days before, maybe this is a good weekend for no plans and, in fact, to take a half day on Friday to de-stress. To say that your brain crud is hormonal is one thing, to actually know which days are likely to be bad is really remarkable.
posted by Sequence at 5:58 PM on May 5, 2018 [8 favorites]

Basically just my steps, music tracks I listen to, and my period since I'm a perimenopausal wreck and it could be a 21 day cycle or an 80 day cycle.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2018

Oh. I also keep a list of embroidery skeins that I need to repurchase.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:55 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am horrible at answering questions fully.

I track steps so that I can see how much of a slug I am so that maybe I will force myself to move.

I track songs because it's easy to look over what I've listened to and see where my mood was living at the time.

Embroidery thread - so that I can replace what has been used and also see usage of colors over time.

During the outage I mostly did very little since I'd just wrapped working in the yard for 2.5 or 3 hours when the outage started. I mean, I think I cleaned the litterbox but I do that every day.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:59 PM on May 5, 2018

The only thing I consistently track about myself is my strength training, and I do it in about the lowest-tech way possible: I carry a tiny notebook and a pen to the gym and keep it with me as I move from lift to lift. I started mainly because I got tired of having to remember (with my brain! what a chore) how much I lifted last week to figure out what I lift today, etc. But I think it'll be pretty cool, when I finally fill the book up, to compare the last few pages to the the first.

I also have a calendar alert set up for when I turn 1 billion seconds old. I don't generally celebrate my birthday, but I might make an exception for that.
posted by egregious theorem at 7:03 PM on May 5, 2018

I don't track anything really. I sometimes try to- and add to the pile of half-used notebooks lying around the place.
During the outage I cleaned up my room (got rid of some old half-finished notebooks XP) started my term paper for my wine appreciation class, and did some maintenance in the garden. I mean, I do that stuff every day anyways so the outage didn't really affect me much. I did have a moment of... did the political thread crash the site?!?!!? but I checked cortex's twitter and he laid it out pretty early. I made some dover sole with lemon, butter and capers to taste with the wine for my term paper. That was a damn good (and easy) dinner.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:12 PM on May 5, 2018

I track the books I read on Goodreads—I started when I had a bookish blog a few years ago and needed a way to keep track of what I was reading for blog entries. My blog is dormant now but I still track the books I read—it’s fun to be able to compare fiction vs nonfiction and library books vs purchased.

I track my steps on my iPod because I have a desk job and need to move my body more often.

And, related to the above, I track/map my walks on the (cleverly named) Map My Walk app because I like to challenge myself to increase my pace, and it’s fun to generate a picture of my route.

In other related news, on my walk today at the local bird sanctuary I saw four families of geese wandering about with a combined total of at least 40 baby goslings. SO MUCH FLOOF on those babies!!!!!
posted by bookmammal at 7:15 PM on May 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I never look back, dahling, it distracts from the now.

At my age, I mostly just chronicle new unexplained aches and gastric torments, and their equally inexplicable (and random) frequency of arrival and departure. Ehh, it's a hobby...
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:16 PM on May 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have a spreadsheet of doom that tracks a lot of different things. Having it all in one place is handy, and at the end of each month I dump the month's data into an archive sheet. Each day does a point-system summary so I can see overall how the day went, for trend purposes. (I also do a weekly and monthly summary on the main one, so I can see trends)

I track physical activity and exercise, sleep, productivity (how many tasks I got done in different task sizes: really rough count), writing (# of words, by project), some spiritual stuff (I do a 'put a specific playlist on shuffle and contemplate what comes up, among other things), books read, and bits of a current knitting project (which has lot of little subcomponents).

I do a bunch of it to help catch medical issues before they get big, and to help me see when I need to plan a break in. (I track activity not to push myself to do more, but so I know if I've gone over a certain level, becuase I will not be as good at thinking tasks for a couple of days. Since most of my job and hobbies are thinking tasks, this is highly relevant.)

I track a few other things in apps (med taking - I use Round, which is great for both scheduled and intermittent stuff), sleep details (I use SleepCycle) and menstrual cycle (I use Life).

I used to track the books separately in a private wiki, but it was a pain to do the upkeep, and in practice I got behind a lot. So now I do a rough date, book number this year, title, author, category, link to a page with full publication details, and if I ever want to pull more detailed data, I'll have the basics.
posted by modernhypatia at 7:20 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I spent the outage time (silently) cursing our poor IT guy at my office because I didn't realize that it was a MeFi server issue. I thought there was something wrong with the office wireless.
posted by sundrop at 7:50 PM on May 5, 2018

Also try to track books, also not good at it.

Goodreads was working for me for a while, then they sold to Amazon. "Hey Amazon, let me do a lot of work for you for free to add to you data collection about me and others" wasn't working for me. Used LibraryThing for a while, also partly owned by Amazon which sort of dulled the enthusiasm.

But then I got on a really long kick of reading old, mostly public domain works. Short stories. On a Nook. That's just hard to keep track of, and nobody cares to help you with that one bit. And I don't really need that info for anything, so...

I like the idea of having info about some activities available, but not enough to let other people have that info, and not enough to actually do it.
posted by bongo_x at 8:15 PM on May 5, 2018

I track the books I read in a database on my computer. (I started tracking then all when I was in college, in a notebook, the paper kind.) I read 200 or so books a year and I can't keep it in my head. It's useful for giving recommendations, for finding out what the name of the book was that I wanted to reread, and it's fun to know precisely how many books I've read each year. I only do a rough date-- everything gets rounded to the first of the month. And I grab the data from Amazon, so I'm only inputting some keywords myself, stuff that help me find it again and recognize it and a rating. (It's also comes in handy when I'm browsing in Amazon Limited and think an author looks familiar, I can look up if I gave them three stars or one.)

During the unplanned server outage I was rereading Cordelia's Honor and then having my weekly call with my best friend and didn't notice Metafilter was down.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:18 PM on May 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Goodreads for books- mostly books I want to read someday when I have a brain again. These days all I have a mind for is app games.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:23 PM on May 5, 2018

Sewing patterns.
posted by Melismata at 8:26 PM on May 5, 2018

Like others above, I use Clue because it's a genius way to track my period cycles alongside my sleep, physical activity & overall how I'm feeling so I have a data trail to help me identify what's up if my mood goes sideways.

I also use MyFitnessPal to track my food sometimes (at this point, verifying my guess about how many calories I've eaten in a given day), and I use Strava to track my physical activity, like this weird running habit I just picked up a month ago. I bought a Polar H7 heart rate monitor so I can see my cardio slowly improving, running at altitude is hard and I will take any motivation I can get. A++ would heart monitor again.

(Also, just as a side-note, super excited to get to participate in one of these threads as they're happening, I'm usually out on Saturday nights because I'm one of those dang youths. I raise my slice of Dominos pizza and glass of rosé to you, Metafilter!)
posted by Snacks at 9:15 PM on May 5, 2018

I tried to track books on Goodreads, but it was mainly to show people the books I read -- not to show off, but just to document that I had read the books people gave/recommended to me -- and I'm horrible at keeping up with it.

I do track each of my hikes, but not for any greater purpose, really. I like to know how many miles I've walked/hiked in the past few days, but I don't tend to retain that info. I do like to know each hike's mileage and elevation gain, because when I started hiking those pieces of info didn't really mean anything to me and now, after tracking them, I'm better at being able to calculate "THIS is my energy level and THIS is my time available and THIS is my (anxiety-driven) need to do something physical" in order to push myself when I need to, and to do something easier when that's going to be ok.

Today's (anxiety-driven) hike was 6.9 miles (+ 1072ft, up to 2263t) in a very burnt landscape in Sonoma. It was my favorite pre-wildfires hike, and they only recently reopened the trails, and I kind of steeled myself. It was both more amazing and more bleak than I had anticipated. So much bleak, charred landscape, and so many wildflowers and shoots and new grasses and GREEN and NEW and SPRING! I was expecting an emotional hike, but it was more than I was expecting.
posted by lazuli at 9:17 PM on May 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

My first AskMeFi question -- almost a decade ago -- asked for ideas for personal data to track. It was also super unclear and poorly written, and I didn't get very useful answers. I've learned a lot how AskMeFi works since then.

A decade later, I track my menstrual cycle (inconsistently) and that's about it.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 9:32 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I didn’t even realize that was an outage today because I was at my grandmother’s funeral in Massachusetts. These were my graveside off-the-cuff remarks:

“I grew up in many places and don’t have a strong concept of ‘hometown.’ But starting when I was about 6 I flew from Little Rock, Arkansas to [this tiny town just north of Boston] to spend a few weeks or a month with my grandparents every summer. The entire experience was magical. I got to fly on an aiirplane All By Myself from the south to Boston. I was always sent to Audobon day camp and my granny would pick me up and we’d stop at a side-of-the-road ice cream stand every day and have maple walnut sundaes and talk about my day in Audobon day camp.

We went to the beach a lot which was unbelievable to a kid who’d spent her whole life in the middle slice of the US. To this day that line where the ocean meets the sky is my happy place. I live in Portland, OR now and am way too far from the ocean.

I was 7 or 8 and my unca John was just finishing high school and I idolized him. My first summer there he was taking care of the neighbors’ pool and we found a bat in the strainer. In typical Beck fashion we put the bat in a shallow grave in the nearby woods so that when it decomposed we could study the skeleton. John said another animal took the skeleton and that’s why it was gone when we came back to find it but I’m still not entirely convinced.

My father is here (to my left), my grandfather is here (gesture right) and to me this place, this family and the house on [road] Road are always the closest I am to home.”
posted by bendy at 9:50 PM on May 5, 2018 [12 favorites]

In 2001 my ex-wife introduced me to DailyDiary, through which I would answer the question, "How was your day?" on a scale of 0-10. I started it and, aside from a brief absence in 2003, continued it to this day. Based on the personal emails I occasionally get from the founder of the website, I suspect that I may be their longest continuous user.

The result has been utterly important. I see high-flying moments, periods of relative depression, how I was feeling through a PhD, divorce, remarriage, raising a child, and undergoing the smaller day-to-day fluctuations. I have statistics for the likelihood of a particular day of the year being potentially worse that others, which appears to manifest not just as a lower mean value, but as a higher coefficient of variation (normalized standard deviation: SD divided by mean).

I recomment that everyone record something important in their lives each day for the long haul, starting now. It will pay off.
posted by jjray at 9:58 PM on May 5, 2018 [12 favorites]

The Great Metafilter Outage occurred during the second half of my work day, so it wasn't a huge burden. I worked until my boss let me go, and then I got a tiny bowl of banana cream pie ice cream, and then I went home and walked the dog and went to the climbing gym and then fell asleep listening to Post Captain.

The quantification of my life consists of weighing myself nearly every morning, and keeping Google Fit running on my phone. I like to get my 10,000 steps, but it's not a big thing if I don't.
posted by suelac at 10:13 PM on May 5, 2018

I track about seven different things for mostly mental health purposes, with a side of physical health. 5 of them are every day and I used to be horrible at it when I was trying to do it on paper or by using things like OneNote or Google Keep. My success rate with most of these now is very nearly 100% but it's really only because I like using Excel.

I had some extra time and energy a few years ago and made myself a template for the four most important variables. Now I get to feel super accomplished when I put in numbers and it automatically graphs them and calculates averages. It's not complicated but it doesn't have to be. The color theme is based on a sort of cross between avocado and spring green and I actually enjoy using it. Like, those 4 variables get recorded when I wake up and then updated later in the day. My success rate for tracking the ones that don't have and wouldn't benefit from a graph is not as stellar.

I suspect that I might like that spreadsheet more than is really socially acceptable, and I am comfortable enough with that to write two paragraphs on the internet about it.

Alternate answer: I considered reading Gizmodo and opened a tab but never actually did it.
posted by Verba Volant at 10:21 PM on May 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

Micrograms consumed per 96hr period, because I believe in moderation.
posted by aramaic at 10:26 PM on May 5, 2018

I was a reggae radio dj for 19 years. The first 4 years, I had to keep all my info in my head. But in 1992 I got my first Mac and Filemaker and started keeping a detailed database in which I reviewed every track of each record or CD. Used a 0-4 star rating for quality of vocals, band, and lyrics, plus key words and topic of the lyrics, tempo, time, and reggae style. I also was able to track how many times I had played any particular track on the air.

The database allowed me to set up shows by topics, or styles and not play any song too often. The database, also including my show logs, grew to many thousands of entries. By the time I retired in 2007 I was running this monster on Filemaker Pro 6 on a Power PC Mac.

Now I don't track much, just a spreadsheet of the audiobooks I've listened to. I've always been terrible at remembering what I've read.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:31 PM on May 5, 2018 [8 favorites]

I was asleep during the great mefi outage thankfully! I track sleep, weight, sometimes calories in, workouts at the gym, and I've been recording each day recently three things that went well in the day to focus more on positives.

I also record concerts I have been to, and got tickets to see Janelle Monae yesterday! Really wasn't sure if she would make it to Paris so am over the moon!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:53 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

i don't really track anything specifically life-related. What I do check on a regular basis are my stats on Flickr. Most of the time the number of views are low, but every once in a while i'll post something on an online forum or Reddit (most likely food related) and then the stats *spike up* in a delightful and satisfying way. I still have a screenshot of "the day Reddit viewed my dinner pics and flatlined every other day ever".
posted by alchemist at 10:55 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've always felt deeply uncomfortable tracking data about myself. I was involved in some social network research 5-10 years ago, and even then the focus was on behavior modification -- "how can we show people things that will get them to change their behavior." Sure, the examples that we discussed were always "exercise more" and whatnot, but, everyone knew, I think, where the money was. I do not regret nope-ing out of that.

For what it's worth I missed the entirety of the Great MeFi Outage of 2018. Too many meetings. That is entirely a synecdoche for my life this year so far...
posted by Alterscape at 11:09 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Google News alert. My eponymous peeps keep dying or being criminal.
posted by b33j at 11:24 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I used to keep track of my Financial Situation in a file called slow_descent.txt, but a few years ago I uploaded that into the cloud to make it easier for Google, government agencies and Russian hackers to see what a hash I'm making of it.
posted by misteraitch at 11:46 PM on May 5, 2018 [10 favorites]

Spreadsheet tracking words of affection between my husband and I, in particular, who initiated on what date. I also catalog my books.
posted by jadepearl at 2:13 AM on May 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm pleased that I've managed to track my reading this year (so far) for the first time.
posted by paduasoy at 2:50 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I track how long Mr. Too-Ticky and I have been together. I track my own age. That's about it; I'm not good at tracking data and I don't enjoy it.

Well, okay... I do enjoy BookCrossing. That's the big exception.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:19 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I get really excited about starting a new tracking project, but rarely keep it up for long. I did , however, track every book I read for about 2 and a half years (until the kiddo was born and I basically stopped reading books) in a super-elaborate Google Spreadsheet I'd be happy to offer to anyone who wants to use it. In addition to tracking the books and the page count, I tracked the number of books I read by women and people of color to maintain a minimum 50% of each.

I also had a One Line a Day journal that I kept up for about 4 years. (Actually, it was my 3rd attempt--the first two journals were abandoned after a couple of months.)
posted by duffell at 4:37 AM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I made a paper bullet journal inspired habit tracker. The gist is self care - floss, meds, vitamins, lymph drainage,walk 10,000 steps, duolingo, volunteer, meditate, water the plants (preventing me from watering too much). Coloring in the boxes is very satisfying.

On Friday I was having company for dinner so during the outage I was mostly staring at a wall with anxiety and then I was throwing taco fixings into bowls, and then eating. But dinner was good.

Bonus - got two new meds prescribed yesterday for the anxiety and ADD. The doc also called in gabapentin, which, no, I’m not having nerve pain. And now this morning I am going to urgent care to have my sore throat looked at. The white spots are more concerning than the pain. (I don’t expect I got strep from the doctors office that was falling apart around me, but I do think I got it somewhere...)
posted by bilabial at 4:49 AM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Favorites. madamjujujive. languagehat. bird songs. filthy light thief. crow minions. Our hummingbird. Planetary positions after dark. A myriad of intellectual interests. I would go on but I am typing with one finger -- because carpal tunnel syndrome, no thumbs of fury, me -- in the dark.
posted by y2karl at 5:07 AM on May 6, 2018

I basically can't track anything about food or exercise at all - I had a pretty bad eating disorder in my late teens/early twenties and that way lies madness. Something about putting a number on any of that stuff ignites a compulsion to drive the number either up or down (whichever is "better") as far as I possibly can using mostly self-punishment as a tool and then suddenly all my bones and organs hurt and I'm walking around the supermarket reading the numbers on everything and buying/consuming none of it. Never again. Not tracking that stuff saves me a lot of stress (and a lot of money on wearables I guess). I do keep a account but I don't really pay attention to it any more.

The Great Outage of 2018 happened right around the time I was thinking "hmm I really should go to bed, maybe I'll just refresh MetaFilter one more time" and I ended up just going to bed without staring at the internet for another ten minutes, which was probably a win overall - one of the few times that being in a different timezone to the majority of the site worked out well for me.

Exciting news this week is that my partner's band finally finally finally finished and released their album! It's called Thunderfuck (because of course it is) and you can stream it for free here if such a thing is of interest, or watch the promo video here (starring, among other things, my kitchen, toaster and downstairs hallway, in case you have ever been interested to see what those things look like). If I had to put a genre on their music I would go with space-prog - if you enjoy songs about wizards, goblins and aubergines then this is the record for you.

They're playing a show tonight in a pub garden and the weather is great and the pub apparently does dirty fries covered in baked camembert, then Monday is a public holiday here; I am very much looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
posted by terretu at 5:13 AM on May 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

I track books purchased, to prevent myself from accidentally purchasing them again (although that hasn't always stopped me).
posted by thomas j wise at 5:16 AM on May 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh, misread. About me ? Well, alrighty then. My weight of late. My temper. My faults. As for me, as the great project in life is learning to be kinder, more gentle and loving, my very slow progress in such regards. Unwillingly, my aging face in the mirror. My happiness -- vast uptick there. Who laughs at my jokes. And so on.
posted by y2karl at 5:20 AM on May 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

"What data do you track about yourself?

Nothing. Zero. Zip. I mean...why?

What did you do with yourself during the Great MetaFilter Outage of 2018?

When MF pages started taking forever to load, I just stayed away until the next day. I had great faith things would be fixed in due order. I did wrestle with posting here on Talk to ask if anyone else was having problems, but I was too afraid it might be just me, and I really didn't feel like trying to debug my system.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:23 AM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I also made this daily goals tracker (I printed it out weekly and used gold stars to track progress each day), which I named WORF GOALS--inspired by a friend who did the same with a photo of Christine Baranski.
posted by duffell at 5:27 AM on May 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

I track steps, my fabric stash, and my yarn stash. Eventually I’ll get needles and haberdashery in too, so I have some idea of what I have and what I’m using. MyFitnessPal works well when I use it but right now, I can’t seem to do it.

I’m also diligently tracking wedding gifts right now so I can make sure I don’t miss any thank-yous. The wedding is so small that there’s nothing else I need to track. By design.

The outage went by unnoticed for me - I left work at lunchtime with a horrible migraine and slept mostly through to the next morning. Pretty good timing!
posted by carbide at 5:36 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m not sure when the outage was with respect to my own time zone, but Friday was very busy with meetings and a party at Little Eirias’ school, so I didn’t really notice it.

I track food and exercise sometimes. I’m not super persistent at it, though, so I’m not sure how useful it is. I have a fairly detailed to do list at work - I think it is similar to what they call bullet journaling but I didn’t set out to follow a system so I’m not sure it’s an exact match. That’s probably the tracking habit I am most faithful to.
posted by eirias at 6:00 AM on May 6, 2018

I've been tracking books read for a while, but it's hit or miss and it's probably about 80% of the books. And I'm a few months behind in 2018.

And I'm back to tracking calories in and calories out, because if I don't I quickly fall back to bad habits that involve too many cookies.

Didn't even notice the outage, must have been really busy that day.
posted by COD at 6:04 AM on May 6, 2018

terretu: one of the few times that being in a different timezone to the majority of the site worked out well for me.

I know, right? Most of it happened during my sleep time, too... and when I woke up, the site was back up.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:07 AM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I track almost everything I do as far as media consumption and collecting I do. Have profiles in Letterboxd, RateYourMusic, Mobygames (although I haven't updated that in years), Calendar TV, Last.Fm, etc. Also, when my knee was less wonky, I used to track the ~km I walked each day, as well as timing. I bought a notebook to keep track of what happens in FIFA career mode.

In brief, I have a problem.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:18 AM on May 6, 2018

logs problem
posted by lmfsilva at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

lmfsilva—thanks for my first “out loud laugh” of the day!!!!
posted by bookmammal at 6:23 AM on May 6, 2018

I track my time flown as a pilot. Part of this is for instrument flying currency (one needs to have flown six real or practice instrument approaches every six months to be current) and partly because my insurance company asks for hours in various categories at renewal time each year. Back when I was getting my certificates/ratings, tracking time was important for the those. Maybe I'll go for airline transport pilot or flight instructor further down the road.
posted by exogenous at 6:37 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Guys. I have strep throat. At urgent care now waiting for them to call in an rx.

posted by bilabial at 6:43 AM on May 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Not to abuse the edit window but now I get to track twice daily antibiotics for ten days.
posted by bilabial at 6:46 AM on May 6, 2018 [10 favorites]

I’ll track things in the short term for a medical issue if I need to consult a doctor, but keeping track of say, when my last period was seems like too much fiddly effort. But I am keeping a log of all the research papers I read plus a few sentences of what I thought about them, this year. That seems like a necessary habit for a researcher.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:16 AM on May 6, 2018

bilabial, I'm sorry. I went into urgent care yesterday because I was worried I had strep (apparently my allergies had just blocked up my ears, which annoyed my throat). Sore throats are no fun.
posted by lazuli at 7:42 AM on May 6, 2018

I remembered that I do track my sleep score on Sleep Cycle, but I don't do anything with it other than look at in the morning and say, "Huh." I just like their alarm clock system; it's supposed to wake you up during a "light sleep phase" when possible.
posted by lazuli at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2018

I don’t like tracking anything (even money! But you kind of have to do that) cause seeing numbers gives me a complex and something to “beat” which brings out all my worst traits (food/excercise is the worst for this , real borderline ED actions start happening) and reducing my life to a series of numbers bums me out in a way I can’t accurately convey.

Oh wait I do track word count/revision time, cause that how I know I’m keeping steady progress.
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I track my period and I track which birds I've seen. That's about it.

During the Metafilter outage I colored some greeting cards for the MeFi Card Club and I filled up and hung my new tube feeder for finches only. Within an an hour of hanging it I had a goldfinch who showed up and stayed for at least 15 minutes. I've never seen a bird chill for that long, so I was really happy. Then I unloaded 7 bags of compost and mulch from the back of my truck.

Yesterday I unloaded 8 bags of compost from the back of the truck at my mom's house (and I had much further to carry them than at my house) and then I did some weeding in a planter bed, dug a giant hole, mixed a sack of concrete, stuck a 10 foot 4x4 in the hole, and then filled the hole in with concrete. Also the post was perfectly level before I even checked, which seems to be my superpower. I am the human level.

Also all of that physical labor is super exciting for me, because even though my new antidepressants have been working wonders on my mood, I've still been dealing with incredibly low energy. A friend suggested rhodiola rosea supplements to help with that and the difference they've made is like night and day.

Today I'm going to climb on my roof and hang up my sunshade sail things over my back patio, now that I have a post in the ground to attach them to. And I'm terrified of heights, so pray for Mojo.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:16 AM on May 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

I have a Garmin that tracks a bunch of stuff I sometimes look at. I generally track every thing I eat and drink. Also, what the cats will and won't eat this week because we're having weight management issues with them.

I track my migraines. I track my spending. I track all the expenses at the condo I lease out.

I have a database with most of my patterns and most of my fabric in it. But when I switched systems, I fell down on the job. I used to track every piece of clothing I owed (what it costs, where I bought it, whether it had a model name) and when I wore them. But then the moths happened. And I stopped.

I used to track all my projects at work. Then someone came into my office over the weekend and cleaned my white board--leaving me without most of my in-progress project records.
posted by crush at 8:51 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got myself a fitbit because I wanted to be able to track steps while conducting research, but I discovered that my fitbit wouldn't sync to my phone without internet access. This was OK because it would buzz at me when I finished my 10,000 steps per day, but also problematic because at some point in time it decided it was no longer going to be on the correct time zone, so my alarms to wake up and take my birth control would go off at completely random times. When I'm in the field, I track books I read and animals I see.

At home, I track steps and sleep with my fitbit, and sometimes I track food using My Fitness Pal. I have an online spreadsheet that I use to track my to-do list, and a personal excel sheet I use to track papers I read, sort of an Excel annotated bibliography. I like quantification, but I don't really have much longterm follow through for things that are more complex to keep track of - I tried to do a bullet journal, but it got boring.

I was desperately trying to procrastinate on finishing revisions on a paper during The Great Outage, but was forced to actually work on it and resubmitted yesterday. Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:55 AM on May 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

I was traveling out of town to perform a wedding and missed the outage. And felt weird about missing it.

I mean...why?

I learn things. And I find it calming.

I am a little obsessive perhaps and tracking things is my thing. Here are a few examples.

Books (since 1997) - I read white men more than I really would think I did. I have been working to rectify this.
Movies (since 2001) - my tastes in what I actually see are getting far less esoteric over time
Libraries (since 2009) - keeping track lets me do summaries and learn about different types of libraries, notice regional trends
Guestrooms (since 2005) - Where the good and bad hotels are, how my travel has changed over time
Talks given (since 2003) - am I getting better at this?
Sleep - working on sleep hygeine issues is easier when you can track trends. CBT-i Coach is great for this, you just enter your data in the morning, it's not like a bed that spies on you.
MeFites Met - I maxed out at 999, I regret nothing (see also MeFiBrarians)
Money - I have a spreadsheet for work stuff that is very helpful come tax time, and I like Mint for overview-level stuff.

And then there are "daily tracker" types of things. Did I floss? Do my shoulder exercises? Meditate? (I use Habit Bull for this) Exercise? If yes to exercise, how far and/or where? (MapMyWalk, I am jessamynw there I think?) And I do Feederwatch and Christmas Bird Count, you know, for science.

Amusingly, I don't track some things you'd think I might. Calories (I like MyFitnessPal but can't keep with it lately). Periods (mine are bizarre and it wasn't worth it). Steps (can't wear wearables). Car stuff (don't care). I manage some anxiety issues and I worry a little bit (ha!) that if I started taking regular (as opposed to my current irregular) medication is that I would no longer feel motivated to stay on top of all these little projects which I really truly enjoy. Not for everyone, certainly.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:56 AM on May 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

I've been measuring the length of every submarine - and subcategories therein - sandwich I eat this year. As of April 30 (I tally monthly) I'm up to 155"!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:28 AM on May 6, 2018 [16 favorites]

Oh yeah I was wearing a fitness tracker for a few weeks but I wasn't doing anything so it just made me feel bad. Also I hate watches. But I kind of wish I'd worn it yesterday so I could know just how physical my activity was.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:31 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got other people tracking my productivity at work. These other people are relentless and unfortunately we disagree about what I’m “producing.” So now I’m tracking grad school and job applications.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:40 AM on May 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

I've got the Apple Watch, which tracks my daily movement and plots it on a handy circle graph. This includes the number of times a day that I stand up and move around, at least while I'm wearing the watch (I tend not to wear it at home. The "Stand" reminder was followed in an update by a "Breathe" reminder, which led me to joke with people that the next iteration would be "Blink." Aside from that, the only major things that I track are blood sugar (required by my primary care physician, and a good idea regardless) and Strava to keep track of cycling. I post my bike trips to Facebook via Strava to be publicly accountable for my RAGBRAI prep, which has the side effect of publicly tracking my movement--so that, for example, someone could tell when I'm going to an AA meeting if I ride my bike there, if they looked at the map closely enough--but I really don't care; if someone got creepy about it, I'd just untoggle the Facebook posting thing in the app. I'm also considering going back on MyFitnessPal for the daily food/calorie tracking, which I'd previously tried and fallen out of doing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:07 AM on May 6, 2018

I track nothing and am a soup of uncertainty.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2018 [6 favorites]

The older I get, the less I track or care to track. I used to be obsessive about my books, not the reading of but the having and the info about. I had huge excel spreadsheets of all the books I owned (and peripherals, too). Then I closed my bookstore and went RVing, and my whole perspective changed. I now track only what joins my Permanent Library of less than 300 books. As to personal stuff? Can't be bothered.

As to the outage, I got the "servers overloaded" message and went away. Came back a few hours later and all was well. So, well done.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh dear.

I track how many houseplants I have (1655 at the moment, but it changes every few days), how often I've watered each of them in the last 7 months, what color they bloomed and when they bloomed for the first time (for a couple subsets of the overall group), when and why they died. I've also recorded my weight every day for the last 7 years, workouts for about 3 or 4 years, and various other things for short periods of time.

The main thing, though, is that I have kept a daily journal since 1987. Originally on paper, and even after I got a computer, I was printing off the pages and taping them into a notebook because I didn't trust the computer to store them long-term. A couple years ago, I decided that I wanted to be able to search the entire journal, not just the post-computer stuff, so I started transcribing all the stuff that wasn't already in the computer into the computer, and, in a happy coincidence, I just finished that phase of the project yesterday,[1] so I can tell you definitively that according to Microsoft Word, as of right now, my journal is exactly 7,211,262 words long, i.e., a hair longer than 35 Moby-Dicks.

I recognize that many would find the slow process of reliving 15 years' worth of early life (including high school) agonizing, but I found it mostly enjoyable. It was like re-reading a very, very long, excessively-detailed, frequently repetitive (oh my god 2002 me I do not care what your fucking Sims are doing please please please shut up about the Sims), and partly-forgotten novel, of which I happened to be the main character. I'm pretty sure it has also forever cured me of thinking that I have a good memory, because I was surprised a lot, y'all.

But there's more! This whole time, I've also been rating each day as good or bad, on a 0-4 scale, with "good" and "bad" being determined more or less by the question, "How much would I dread or look forward to finding out that I was going to have to relive today?" Consequently, there are graphs. So many graphs. The original impetus for rating days was because I had just read something in which someone was describing seasonal affective disorder without using that actual term, and I thought whoa, that would actually be incredibly useful, to be able to anticipate good or bad moods in advance, I wonder if that happens to me too. (It doesn't, though there's a statistically-unlikely amount of evidence for a decadal affective disorder. If that turns out to be a thing, please tell the appropriate people on my behalf, 'cause I want it named after me.)

But then there's even more, because at one point many years ago I got interested in the way that people would drift in and out of the journal over time, so I decided to read through it all and count up the number of times I mentioned individual people.[2] So I have a list of 859 people from my life, sorted according to how much I've talked about them in the journal, plus graphs. I stopped keeping track of people-mentions in 2006, so counting up the number of times I mentioned everybody[3] in the journal over the last twelve years (2.9 million words) is to be the second phase of the journal project. Which I estimate will take me another six or seven months to complete, and will likely add about 400 people to the list.

As for why, well, at this point it's mostly just that I wouldn't know how not to; it's been going on for basically my whole self-aware life. But it occasionally turns out to be useful to know exactly what day the cable company replaced the modem or whatever. And re-reading the journal is an unbelievably potent vaccination against nostalgia, of course.


[1] Just to prove I belong at MeFi: I was also tracking the number of words I was transcribing per day throughout this process, mostly in an effort to convince myself that I would finish transcribing someday, and then recording the daily totals in the current journal itself. So I was tracking the tracking of the tracking.
[2] Proper names and 3rd-person singular pronouns count, as well as references to occupations or positions where a particular person is being unambiguously referenced ("my English teacher," "my parents"); plural pronouns usually don't count, because it proved difficult to consistently identify exactly who "we" are at any given moment.
[3] (not literally everybody; just people who seemed like they were, or could be, important at some point)
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:55 AM on May 6, 2018 [23 favorites]

For all my ability to remember and retell complicated stories, I don't track much, and that likely has a lot to do with dealing with depression and related bullshit.

Thus, I have started to track a bunch of things. I also have a bunch of journal entries I need to collate and collect because I tend to jot things down either in a gmail draft or in random plain ASCII files, and I would like for most/many of these to get put into a real paper journal I've been carrying around.

I also still have a habit of starting paper journals/logs and they end up becoming catch-all notebooks and other randomness. My last photography journal and recipe book ended up this way and I swore up and down it wouldn't and I was even carrying around my old photo journal to use as the catch all.

On the upside these journals end up being totally wild collections of projects, thoughts, doodles and various ideas and other cool things. One page might be about audio installations and other art stuff, another might be weirdo engineering doodles for something, another might have sketches from me explaining something to someone with visual aids, and another set of pages might be obscure books/movie/media recommendations from a conversation I had.

I've been roughly tracking my bike mileage thanks to a super inexpensive bike speedo/computer I picked up for $6 at my local old school pharmacy of all places, in the clearance section. It has a tripometer and running odometer. I'm also starting to track my times and MPH and moving averages when riding familiar trails and segments.

(Side note: I already almost lost the thing. I was struggling with something cargo related on my bike and I knocked the computer/display/brain part off the clip-on mount, and it fell under the park bench I was leaning my bike on. I made a note to pick it up before riding off, then didn't. Rode back the next day and found it right where I left it. I love my honest, sleepy hippy town so much.)

I now consistently use my calendar for anything that's an appointment, be it work, health or social.

I have alarms set for my meds and keep logs and notes. I take my meds within 5 minutes of the same time every day without fail, wherever I may be.

I've also started setting up contact and work logs for my new job. So every call or outreach or personal contact gets logged in a text file with notes. This isn't just for tracking my work activity and efforts but will help keep track of where I am with contacting people with different projects/topics.

I can see why a lot of professionals use them, or why call log books were a thing for receptionists and PAs and stuff.

And on the personal situation front I'm diving into work at my new job a lot faster than I thought I would., and it's great. I'm also experiencing something very much new to me, and it's apparently some kind of new anxiety that isn't about... losing a job or being yelled at by a boss or some other shitty thing.

It seems to be anxiety about wanting to do the job very well. It's not an insignificant amount of anxiety and fear, and it's strong enough to make me catch my breath and have some familiar symptoms.

It feels similar to anxiety about public speaking or stage performance, but somehow more personal and crucial? Speaking to the public and being visible is definitely part of it, so that's natural, but not all of it.

I think part of it is that I know this is going to test my patience, and I already know and have a connection and/or friendship with a lot of the volunteers I'm working with, so it's all very intimate and personal in some pretty profound ways.

The garden is sprouting nicely and I need to thin and transplant really soon.

On a vaguely related note I love good healthy food. The other day I had like 3 bagels with jam and regretted the carbs immensely and felt hung over the next day. I love apples. I eat breakfast now and get hangry when I don't. I go for bike rides and eat apples, and then finish it off with veggie soup with water and extra salt.

I had no idea I could get super warm, fuzzy and, well, high on a bowl of soup and a bike ride. I love feeling my poor old meatbot go "Yum! This is good shit!" when I do.

On the biking front I replaced my chain and scored some free fenders. My old front fender loved to chew on wet pine needles and mud and was forever having rocks and pebbles sucked up into it and rattling around. The new fender has better clearance and hasn't made a sound, and I like that.

I'm also getting pretty damn fast and it's kind of already getting to the point that I'm getting diminishing returns on effort, because climbing hills is less and less effort. So I've started attacking hills and going for time and pace. One of the hills I used to crawl up at 6-8 MPHs in my lowest gears and I would struggle to finish it. I can now hold 12+ MPH up that hill and it's barely a hill. If I want a really hard work out I can try to get out of the saddle and sprint steeper hills.

And spring and summer are in full swing around here. Even the wintery goth kids are getting into it, and I'm one of them. It has all the signs and indications of being a really wild and fun summer season this year. I still haven't jumped off the docks, but, soon!
posted by loquacious at 10:58 AM on May 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh, and small but proud work moment:

I was at the counter the other day helping out and a tourist asked "So, what's this place all about, anyway?" and I visibly impressed the shop and volunteers with my answer and recitation of the pitch and history and all the cool things we do, because they all just stopped to listen in.

It was a very nice, natural moment of the "Oh, crap, they actually get it and they know and love this place! And they can talk about it and explain it!" sort and I could tell it helped make a good impression on some of the volunteers there that I don't really know yet.

I''m... not exaggerating here. I turned around after my pitch to ask "How was that?" and the volunteers on shift were just staring at me and smiling and I'm feeling sheepish like "Oh, crap, you were all watching me!"

Sure, I've always loved being able to be a walking encyclopedia and I have a ton of IRL help desk/info desk experience, but I learned how to do this sort of question-answering really well at my last job where I ended up becoming the defacto information booth about the history of the state park I was working in and the dozen-odd programs and orgs on campus.

It was good to know I still have it and it's a comfortable talent for me.
posted by loquacious at 11:11 AM on May 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

I’m so fucking sick of data right now. No, that’s not right, I’m angry with it. I hate quantification. Data is like markets, not evil, apathetic, not immoral, amoral. Data doesn’t give a fuck. Yet data decides so much these days, and it does it so very poorly. These numbers have run amok. With their algorithm pals, and formulas, and demographics, and aggregations imposing their profiles and predictions. And we just click and give them this data with our likes, and favorites, and swipes, and followers, and views, and shares, and cites, and links, chasing better page rank, higher profiles, perfect credit scores, fit-biting to a better BMI, luminous IQs, linked job classifications, and a block-chained salary.

No more numbers. I’m not keeping track of a damn thing. Not the number of Ritz crackers that were in this empty sleeve, or the hours I just spent bingeing Legion, the amount of money I spend on black oil sunflower seeds, or the amount of time my kid spends on a screen. Instead, I’m feeling my way through. Put down your phone, let’s take the dog to the dog park. I could use a walk after all those crackers.

Yeah, fuck quantification. I’m taking some time to consider what feels right. Searching for the qualities in things, considering incentives, embracing the human.

So I’m not keeping track of anything right now. But I like that idea of journaling. I suppose that’s what I’ve been doing with these talktails. But just so it’s clear, I’m doing it because it’s fun, not for the favs.

And what did I do during the outage, clicked reload.
posted by Stanczyk at 11:22 AM on May 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

I track my steps taken per day and my bike rides -- I don't have a car, so those are my main two transport modes. The bus is usually slower than biking for me, less a statement that I'm fast on the bike and more about how slow the bus is! It's National Bike Month and I'm trying to avoid falling down a well of competitiveness related to cycling this month, since I have a lot of other stuff going on. But tracking it revealed to me last year that I biked over 5,000 miles (!!!) and I like getting the silly notifications that I walked the Great Wall of China or something.
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 12:47 PM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is a great prompt, in light of it being American Library Association's Choose Privacy Week. I feel like listing this is a little bit like saying "Here are the keys to my life of the mind." But I'm also fascinated to realize just how many things I do track. I learned early on somehow to document process—probably part of the whole life of an artist thing, as I grew up with artist/writer/musician parents—and it's been exceedingly useful to me on a regular basis to be able to go back to things like this. (Thanks also to Robin Sloan for the concept of stock and flow and to Bill Keaggy and jessamyn for the ongoing examples of how to lead a well-documented life of lists.) That said, I know it could also make it quite easy for interested parties to get all dystopian on me. Sigh.

Books: I tracked books read until late 2012. In 2013, life just accelerated and I quit tracking and I keep meaning to add the intervening 6 years' worth of books to the list.

Tarot: I take a photo of every tarot spread I do and list the cards and accompanying songs that come up on shuffle in my profile here.

Songs: I'm still going on this song recording project, though the pace slowed in the past few months due to a lot of life stuff. But I track it by keeping all the songs exported in a folder and looking back at it periodically to see how I'm doing by the numbers for the year. I also keep iTunes playlists of songs I have yet to record that might work well, though I should really make a centralized list. Right now, that list is living across a few playlists and should probably be consolidated.

Clue: Tracking with this helped me get a chronic illness diagnosed—no regrets.

Lose It!: Tracking weight, food, drink, medication, and exercise has helped me be more compliant and lose somewhere in the vicinity of 15 to 18 pounds in 3 months.

Strong: I started lifting weights again at the end of March, so I've been using this to track weight, reps, and sets. I used to do that on paper, but this has been convenient.

Fitbit: People keep giving me Fitbits (on my second gifted Fitbit so far!), so this is in my life, feeding into the Lose It! ecosystem.

Samsung Health: I don't even have a Samsung phone anymore, but all my old data lives in here, so I keep using it on my current phone. This just ambiently tracks steps and occasionally praises me or chides me.

Netflix: This is more incidental than anything. The app does track everything you've ever watched on it, so that's been useful to go back to every so often to double-check something. I watch things across more than a half-dozen streaming services regularly, though, and unlike a filmmaker friend who tracks every movie he watches, I've never felt like committing to that.

iTunes: Every time I get a song in my head at work, if it's in my iTunes library, I try to add it to my Work playlist. It's been interesting to see over time what types of songs come up. I also try to be consistent about assigning a rating to every song I hear in iTunes, so over time I actually know what my favorites are.

Pandora: I've also been fairly consistent about giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating to songs on here, though I've historically only used this app when exercising. I'll occasionally go through this and make a list of things I repeatedly heard and liked to buy on Amazon. The only regret I have is that in a fit of pique in 2007, I decided my life had changed and I erased the first 3 years' worth of data on here from college. I should've kept it. Otherwise, I've faithfully kept it scrobbling since then, tracking most songs.

Shazam: This has become one of two ways I track songs I like, so I can add them to my collection later. I'll periodically do a run through Vintage Vinyl or Amazon to pick up CDs of things I've enjoyed.

Pinboard: I keep bookmarks of things I've liked and found interesting in here since the end of 2010 (with an import of my Delicious bookmarks going back to mid-2009), and this is also where I track things I want to buy or make with a specific tag. This archive is how I made those Awl and Hairpin link roundups (RIP).

Google Tasks: I've tracked project ideas (art-project ideas, song titles, album titles, pin ideas) in here for years and years. I should maybe keep them somewhere else, but I will probably hang on until the bitter end with this. Tasks is also where I've kept my "weird body things" list.

Twitter: I've tweeted almost every dream I could remember on here since I joined, I think, back in April 2008. I plan to create comics and other art on the basis of this body of dream material at some point—it's like free surrealist content created by my brain, multiple nights a week, for 10 years now.

TextEdit: In a past life, I kept a couple logs of quotes in text files for more than 7 years. Those will also become the basis of something, comics or other art, at some point, though they're a little more fraught and have a lot of mixed feelings attached. Text documents were sort of the descendants of the physical notebooks (basically commonplace books) I used to keep in high school. Instead of painstakingly copying quotes from works I read into notebooks, these days I do one of two things: 1. fold over corners on books I read or 2. take photos of the passages in question, especially if they're in a library book or of immediate use to me.

Hubot: Since March 2015, I've been keeping a long list of things I dislike, adding to it bit by bit, using a chatbot. There are almost certainly more things I dislike than are on this list, but these are the publicly acceptable ones to mention. This March, I got a new list added to the bot: gratitude list! So I've been keeping track of things I actually like there.

Gmail: Labels and chat and SMS logs are ever useful—they're how I know I started monthly shipments of caffeine water in December 2008, for instance. I also keep lists in email conversation with myself, such as emojis I want to get around to adding to Slack.

Google Photos: I've been training Skynet to recognize my likeness since December 2016, when I dumped all the photos I could find into it. It's been, again, exceedingly useful to be able to have all of this available in one app. This is a form of tracking, because it's like a light box of all the inspiring art I've seen, all the great shots I've gotten, where I traveled, etc. As I scroll back through it, themes emerge, things that could coalesce into a photo set for a book or a postcard set or maybe someday an exhibit. What goes on Instagram is the distilled essence of this, documenting one promising shot for perhaps every 50 I actually take.

Mint: I do still have this set up to pull in financial data, but it's become far less useful in recent years since they broke and never fixed parts of the investments tab. So I look at this every so often, such as when doing taxes, but I use it less since that happened.

Some themes emerge as I think through where my data lives. It's interesting to me, for instance, that some of the people I know who are most privacy- and security-conscious, myself included, are actually fairly open with a lot of these data sets. It's one thing to have data; it's another thing to have any idea how to use it. I know how I want to make use of most of the data I have, but it might not be that useful to anyone else. I would almost be flattered if someone actually ever bothered to care enough to connect the dots on any of this, e.g., "Oh, she's listening to that song again, that must mean ______," or "Oh, she's on an Instagram binge again, what's up?" (Sometimes it means nothing; sometimes it means a lot. So it's hard to tell much from data without context.) This also reminds me of how important conversation and dialogue are to process—part of why I put some of these lists out into the world is that publicly laying claim to an idea is one way to stake it down as something I've thought about under X circumstances at Y time. So those are some things!
posted by limeonaire at 12:55 PM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I use the fitbit app on my phone. I walked 7.1 miles today.
I also track my menstrual cycle using my phone. I'm amused at the 403 day "cycle" that was having a kid, mainly because who designs a menstrual cycle tracking app without having a way of including something like pregnancy?

I've always wanted to track what books I read - especially during the year that I did a 3.5 hour x 2 daily commute and read about three books a day - but have completely failed at that. Maybe if I'd had a smart phone back then?
posted by sciencegeek at 1:31 PM on May 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Quite a few things:
Music via (to the point that if I listen to something on LP or CD I'll play the same album on Spotify, to keep my stats correct
Films via Letterboxd and books on LibraryThing, on both am trying to read/watch more works that aren't by straight white dudes, but mostly failing.
Activity, which for me is basically running. I run a lot*, and I just got a Garmin watch which basically tracks everything. Also in the Metafilter group on Strava. Most interested in the distance I've run, and my heart rate zones. I also pull the data into a spreadsheet, partly to help me get better at Excel. I try logging food with MyFitnessPal, but I tend to scratch cook stuff that doesn't have formal recipes, so it's difficult.

*More than 99% of peers, according to my Garmin ;)
posted by Pink Frost at 1:58 PM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I use Excel to track letters/cards sent, trails hiked, and pies baked.

I am ashamed to admit that I had been tracking my pie baking for two years before it occurred to me to refer to it as a ‘pie chart’.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:12 PM on May 6, 2018 [14 favorites]

I do have a Goodreads and use it, but am terrible at tracking things otherwise--and my Goodreads really serves as a reminder to myself of books I'd like to read, rather than anything especially interesting about tracking. (Currently, I'm midway through Summer in Orcus and rather in love with it.) I update it mostly when I start and finish a book, not much else in between, and I rarely bother to write a review.

I think I'm just too distractible to track anything like that--I'm rather in awe of those of you who have the patience to do it! I sometimes track time worked on PomodoneApp, but that's really because the timer function itself works well for me and then it sums up all the time on its own.

As to the outage--I was very alarmed for a little bit and then I got sucked into work catch-up and then fell asleep, because as I think I whined mentioned on the Fucking Fuck thread, I've been adjusting my meds to the tune of going off three and going on one, and it's been a rough couple of weeks. I think I've finally fought the brain fog off and stabilized, although I also appear to have a cold so who on earth knows. But the outage was one of the foggy-brained not-great days after I started switching but also after I started feeling enough like myself to dig into work again, and so I was muzzily fighting through a pile of work and didn't have too much time to breathe.
posted by sciatrix at 3:36 PM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Beer drank, beer gathered for future drinking, and sleep; primarily.

By which I mean I have a list of just about every distinct beer I've had since turning 21, with ratings. (with room for duplication for yearly releases & variants since those can be fairly different, but excluding Randalls, Cuvees, and infusions)

Similarly, I've gotten deep enough down the beer-gathering hole to need to have an organizational system there so I know what's in which box. Which is to say, if there's any Seattle-area MeFites who want a bottle share, I will eagerly share beers, ciders, and meads.

And on the last one, I got Sleep as Android years back and it's helpfully tracked my sleep routines & quality ever since, even eventually helping me get a sleep apnea diagnosis & CPAP.

More broadly, I love the idea of more self-quantification, but I also want it to be self-directed & able to be correlated. I figure enough Megacorps are tracking me as-is, so I might as well share in the benefits some
posted by CrystalDave at 3:47 PM on May 6, 2018

The only tracking I do seems to be wearing a well-beaten path along the roadside to go visit my neighbors.

Otherwise, I abhor anything that has to do with focusing on me. Or systematically logging anything. And the older I get, the more resistant I become to any tracking or measuring because it's all ephemeral.

I was probably working during the outage of 2018 because that's the fun life. (Do people know about the innane "salt life" stickers folks seem to have on everything from vehicles to t-shirts....or is that regional?)
posted by mightshould at 3:48 PM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I track my hours volunteering, for the President's Volunteer Service Award. I'm over halfway to the Lifetime Achievement recognition.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:20 PM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, also geocaches, and all the usual Fitbit stuff.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:22 PM on May 6, 2018

I track my days in a series of "Black n' Red" notebooks that goes back for a decade plus; and I track my finances in a similarly aged (and lengthy) Excel sheet.

Other aspects of tracking; time in this instance; and mileage perhaps; is the life-cycle of bike tires as they start out with fresh nubs and wear to a smooth line along the middle.

Laptops seem to come and go every 4-5 years; the most recent is somehow plodding along at eight+ years; but the key with the , (comma) is sticking really bad; so I write with a lot of ;;;; action.

I will be 'home' in around 100 days; that is being 'tracked'; and I am able to see the bottom of my initial bottle of anti-malaria pills which means the 'half way' point of my overseas WTF moment in my life is near.

I don't remember the 'outage of 2018' which means I must not have had internet during that time. :/
posted by Afghan Stan at 5:15 PM on May 6, 2018

The outage? I blamed myself. That's what I did during the outage. I'm so rarely online something probably broke when I tried to log on.

Track periods and money and keep very thorough vet records.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:17 PM on May 6, 2018

After making a batch of homebrewed beer today, I just remembered that's another thing I keep records of. It's nice to have the recipe details, etc. for re-brews and modifications. Also it had been just over two months since my last brew, definitely longer than normal, so I went and looked at aforesaid records. Turns out that the gap between today and my previous brew was the longest time period I’ve gone without brewing since at least August 2012, the beginning of my easily accessible records.
posted by exogenous at 6:06 PM on May 6, 2018

Oh my god I am the worst tracker. This whole metatalk is making me itchy with ill-defined guilt, in fact. My iPhone serves as a very rough approximation of a step tracker (that obviously only works when my phone is on my person) and I do keep an eye on it and am pleased that the trend seems to be trending upwards since I got the phone in 2015. And I've been using the same invoicing system for nearly 10 years now so I have 10 years' worth of freelance billing data and that's kind of cool.
posted by drlith at 6:41 PM on May 6, 2018

I have every book I’ve read since 2004 chronicled in an extremely simple google doc; it’s the only personal data tracking i’ve eve managed to maintain long term. The only commentary I add is asterisks next to books I especially loved, and percent signs next to books I especially hated. A few rare books that I’ve felt deeply ambivalent about get both symbols. I like going back and noting which books got a * on my first read that I imagine I would hate today, or remembering what I liked best about the * books I still love.

I was inspired to start this list by my dad, who has every book he’s read since sometime in the 1970s hand-written in a notebook.
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:34 PM on May 6, 2018

Among passing thoughts and various notes in the current of now about a dozen logbooks, I've been recording lists of films seen (since 1977); books read (since 1992) and flights made (since the first, in 1963). And that's flights, as in flight segments. Mostly on airliners, of course, but also including the few civil aviation; and the one blimp ride.

posted by Rash at 9:42 PM on May 6, 2018

I re-read books so I've started signing my name on the inside front cover just so I can track how my signature changes from year to year (not a lot). That's about it. Oh, I look through my bank transactions and track how much money I've spent on shit that I've told myself I'm not going to buy anymore (a lot).

I slept through most of the Outage but when I woke up and went to check how popular I was and discovered that Metafilter wasn't working I just kept pressing the reload button obsessively. Unsurprisingly, when it finally started working again, I discovered that my popularity hadn't changed one single bit. And then an answer on Askme got deleted so I was even less popular than before.

This is my life. It's a bit sad.
posted by h00py at 5:56 AM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

I track missed deadlines and incomplete senten
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:30 AM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm a tracker, but a mostly inconsistent one.

I'm a My Fitness Pal user and used it once for an entire 365 days faithfully, but have been pretty inconsistent over the last 2 years.

I use GoodReads to track my books but I have probably less than a quarter of the books I've read in there.

I use a panda tracker for my daily stuff, but I'm really inconsistent about doing it. Mondays are good, Thursdays and Fridays, not so much.

I wish I tracked consistently, but I guess that's not me right now.

During the outage, I refreshed for a while, assumed it was my network and it would fix itself, and then I drove home.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:57 AM on May 7, 2018

I started tracking classic movies, mainly because I started a blog project last year out of sheer desperation for Something To Write About - that's ended up being so fun that it's acquiring a life of its own.

I also track my periods because they started going wacky about 5 years ago; it's definitely because of perimenopause, and by now they are so infrequent that I need the reminder to know when the last one actually was.

During the outage I was finishing up at work and then heading home on the subway. I think I finished reading the book for my book club when I got home.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I use Untappd to keep track of the different beers I have tried, and that's about it. I don't even bother to rate the beers, I just keep logging them, usually adding a photo of the label in case I want to try to find it another time.
posted by briank at 8:20 AM on May 7, 2018

posted by Nanukthedog at 10:04 AM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I love effortless tracking like the health app that tracks my steps. A big part of my job is moving processes over from manual tracking to automated tracking and I love that kind of thing. There is a lot to be said about not relying on data too much and being wary of making decisions based solely on the data available to you. Things that are harder to measure can be much more important. I hate when people ask "Why would you ever want to keep track of that?" in regards to someone tracking their own lives. Curiosity about yourself is a healthy attribute.

I try to keep track of the books I own, books I have read, cities/areas I have visited and movies watched.
posted by soelo at 1:40 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I track the frequency and severity of every migraine attack I get and then run it thru an R script I wrote to make a graph of monthly attack counts. I also track the treatments and medications I'm receiving and align them with the attack graph to see if anything is helping or hurting.

I missed the outage because I was napping on a ferry.
posted by congen at 3:46 PM on May 7, 2018

congen, you could call that ^ a ferry good nap.....
posted by mightshould at 3:51 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Broken bones: 24
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:55 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I track books in Goodreads, knitting and crochet projects (and the related stashes) in Ravelry and I wear a Fitbit because if I am going to toil up Brighton's hills, I might as well get rewarded for it. is still scrobbling away but I listen mostly to podcasts now, which I have excluded so it only occasionally fires itself up. As a result, my early 20s music choices are still the dominant artists on my profile. I used to track my cycle (which was always very odd so that was handy for the ‘when did you last’ question) but since my endo surgery and the drugs relating to that, I haven’t had a cycle since 2011 and it has been great.

I missed the outage by dint of time zones and travelling, I think, so it was all back up and running smoothly when I returned to the internet.
posted by halcyonday at 2:15 AM on May 8, 2018

I have weight and body measurements for every year since I was 16 (now 15). Since having kids my weight has mostly been more than it was when I was pregnant. When I had lots of books (over 1000) I arranged them by author (fiction) or by Dewey decimal system. When I was saving for our first home (with a spendthift spouse) I knew to the cent (honestly) how much we spent and saved.

Now I edit/format academic books, journals and theses for a living and that's more than enough attention to detail to satisfy my spectrum self. Today I checked every incidence of the word "year" in a 300 page document to make sure they were capitalised correctly (year 8 means grade 8 in my country) but I also hit my heaviest weight ever so maybe I should count some calories or steps.
posted by b33j at 3:42 AM on May 8, 2018

I am ashamed to admit that I had been tracking my pie baking for two years before it occurred to me to refer to it as a ‘pie chart

Did that happen on March 14?
posted by b33j at 3:45 AM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I track... everything, feels like, since finding an all-purpose journal app a couple of years ago that suited me. Books read , steps taken, hours slept, units of alcohol drunk, food eaten, brooches worn, kingfishers seen, scores achieved in daily kanji practice, Gift Aided donations made, puffs of Ventolin used. Weight, most mornings. What I've baked (and how well it went down at work). Which train I caught to work each day. Uses of my all-zones Travelcard, and what they would have cost me on PAYG Oyster. Plus stuff related to my menstrual cycle... and an actual daily journal entry describing what I've done each day. Separately, I've got a database of most of my books ("most" because the db size has made the app very slow to use these days), and a much smaller database of all my pins and brooches (heading towards the 500 mark, if you're wondering).
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:24 AM on May 8, 2018

So, this is too good to save for the next cocktail thread, but let's not bury the lede.

One.. one bat ahahahaaa... oh crap, it's a real bat. Just flying around inside. Not an oversized moth, an actual bat. Man, I never had this problem living outside because there was no inside for a bat to get trapped in. Ok, now what?

First, don't freak out. It's just a bat. Wait, I think it's a bat? Wait, yes, it's definitely a bat.

No, first remark and marvel how dead silent the bat is zooming around the basement at 10-20 MPH and how it's almost impossible to see even with the lights on.

But wait, go back before that to freak out a little thinking that there was something wrong with your eyes or the electricity with the way the dimmish LED bulb was flickering. Then sort of freak out a little that you just spent like 10 minutes staring at your computer WHILE THERE WAS A FREEEAKIN' BAT FLYING ALL AROUND YOUR HEAD FOR LIKE 10 MINUTES AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN SEE IT OR FEEL IT OR HEAR IT.

Keep calm and remember bats are actually really cute little sky rats and mark yourself down for one Goth PointTM.

Ponder about the possibility of other unseen bats for a few moments and how often one leaves their door wide open, and how inviting it might actually be to bats. Consider some odd moments when the cat was chittering at something in the dark, and go "hrmmm."

Oh, right, cat. Cat wants the bat. Cat can definitely not have the bat. Grab cat, try to keep cat tucked under arm because I can't put cat out, because bat needs to go out. Hell, for all I know cat brought bat inside through cathole.

Ok, door is open, bat is orbiting, cat is freaking out about bat in... aaaand bat flies up to somewhere in the floor joists above and vanishes. Fuck. Ok. Repeat reappearance of the bat, grabbing the cat and waiting for bat to try to loop out the open door, but then vanishing into the rafters again about three or four times over an hour.

Strongly consider ignoring and/or adopting bat. Just look at it go!

Ok, bat is looping around the basement again, and seems to see the door. Grab cat. Squat with cat on mat near the door. Bat flies out the door, then right back in as I'm shutting it. CRAP.

Bat flies all over basement, including right up at my face a few times. Freak out internally a little, but get a good look at the wingspan and that's about it. It's 6-8 inches at full stretch, little blurry hamster sized body. Can barely make it a bit of a tail. Freak out about how amazingly hard it is even to see the damn bat and tell where it is as it's flying around, or if it's even in the garage at all.

Hold cat, squat on mat, wait for bat. Bat finally loops out the door again, then flies right back in again as I'm shutting the door and I can just barely see the shadow flit by. Not to mention the cat is going for it, too.

Wait for bat. Bat flies out, I shut door. I look around. I think it left and is outside. It's not. Freak out a little again when I finally see it still flying around 5 minutes later. Grab cat, door, mat. Bat.

Bat FINALLY flies out and navigates the turn just out the door. Leave door cracked anyway. Sleep for crack'o'dawn wakeup.

Still not sure if the bat is actually not here. I'm assuming it's not.
posted by loquacious at 3:56 PM on May 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm reminded of the time that my high school BFF, who was a wildlife rehabber along with her mom, raised an orphaned bat. We even took that damn bat on a camping trip with us because it had to be kept warm and fed every few hours. It lived in a cooler and was probably the cutest damn thing with wings I've ever seen, and I've seen some pretty cute birbs.

Bat flying around my abode is another story though. I'm glad you set the bat free and aren't rabid, loq. :P
posted by elsietheeel at 4:53 PM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, bat flying around in the house is instant Benny Hill Yakety Sax time.
posted by bongo_x at 6:56 PM on May 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm glad you set the bat free and aren't rabid, loq. :P

Oh, are we presuming I'm not? I did get bit by a dog. *sighs*

The thought "Oh, great, I'm about to get bit by some other thing." did cross my mind. As did Yakety Sax.

Also, I saw the tiniest baby fawn today on the bus home from work. Like, it had to be just a few hours old. Full on small town traffic jam and the whole bus going "Awwwww crap ok that's really cute." as they skittered across the road just behind mom.
posted by loquacious at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

> Broken bones: 24

Yours, or...?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:40 PM on May 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

I track my steps via fitbit, and my finances. The latter only occasionally because it stresses me out so. much.
I had posted on AskMefi just before the outage, so I spent quite some time thinking that my question had somehow broken Metafilter.
posted by Nieshka at 5:23 AM on May 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Speaking of tracking birds, this morning I saw my first local bald eagle sitting in a pine tree when I was driving to the reservation for my therapy appointment. I was very excited. I'm still pretty excited, tbh. (I also saw a bunch of meadowlarks and a flying white-faced ibis, which looked super weird in the air.)
posted by elsietheeel at 11:12 AM on May 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Buzzards have been hanging around the house and drinking out of the pool.
The dogs don't like it.
posted by bongo_x at 11:17 AM on May 11, 2018

elsietheeel--I pass a bald eagle nest (that thing is HUGE!) every day going to and from work. On the days that I actually see one of the eagles I always think that's a sign that it's going to be a great day. On the days when I see BOTH eagles I KNOW it's going to be a great day! I am hoping to see an eaglet soon . . .
posted by bookmammal at 11:48 AM on May 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm a bit late to this party, but I love tracking things! I try not to track everything, but I am a relentless organizer who has trouble letting go and can be a bit forgetful, so I do try to keep a record of things that are important to me or bring me joy.

For books, I use both a spreadsheet (older; an incomplete record of everything I've read since college, but something I've used to help me not feel guilty or sad about getting rid of books that ultimately won't be used again) and Goodreads (newer; mostly because it's tied to my Kindle, but also as a discovery tool and place to track books I want to read in the future). Knitting and spinning stuff (past, current, and future projects; yarn and fiber stash; books and magazines) is all thoroughly tracked in Ravelry. I have a dedicated notebook for recording bird sightings on our property—date, weather conditions, feeder (and other) visitors, and behavioral notes or other observations. I use a spreadsheet to track my menstrual cycle. In the past, I have tracked detailed running data via yearly spreadsheet, but it became too much to maintain and I don't run as much as I used to, so I trust Runkeeper with that job now.

I fully expect to track a lot of gardening stuff (planting dates, locations, rotations, etc.) in the future, but this is our first full year as homeowners, and apart from some bulbs and other decorative things, all I've planted this year are some leafy greens and herbs in containers.
posted by cellar door at 7:10 AM on May 13, 2018

« Older Unplanned Server Outage   |   R.I.P. quarsan Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments