This is my dashboard. It's a Ruby on Rails site that I've been gradually adding to over the past year. Let me show you an example of how this helps me change the way I live.
I started tracking my clothes because I was curious about what small thing I could start tracking every day. I also wanted to see if I could use the data to simplify my wardrobe.
At first, I tried tracking this on paper, using numbers that I'd Sharpied onto the tags of my clothing. That didn't work out so well because I had duplicate records and missing records.
1. Im Sacha Chua. I want to convince you that its well worth investing the time and effort intobuilding a personal dashboard that brings together the different things that you track.
2. This is my dashboard. Its a Ruby on Rails site that Ive been gradually adding to over the pastyear. Let me show you an example of how this helps me change the way I live.
3. I started tracking my clothes because I was curious about what small thing I could start trackingevery day. I also wanted to see if I could use the data to simplify my wardrobe.
4. At first, I tried tracking this on paper, using numbers that Id Sharpied onto the tags of myclothing. That didnt work out so well because I had duplicate records and missing records.
5. So I started building this website, logging the clothes as I wore them. After the first month or so,I realized that pictures would make it much easier to pick the clothes. I spent about two hourstaking pictures of most of my clothes.
6. Now its super-easy to log what Im wearing - I simply click on the picture or search for thedescription and log it. I do this every morning, although sometimes I still forget. Its easy to catchup.
7. It turns out that minor tweaks make a big difference. I used to sort the clothing by color so that Icould see similar clothes together and maybe use colour theory to suggest
8. Sorting it by last-worn date was much better, though, because then I was encouraged to load-balance my clothes. That way, I wasnt always wearing the same clothes again and again.
9. WHAT ELSE?I couldnt find an existing application that did what I wanted to do, so Im glad that I built myown using a little scripting. Since I was looking at this page every day, I wondered: what else do Iwant to put on it?
10. Time Recording Tap Log RecordsId been tracking my time using some apps for my Android phone. I started with Time Recordingbecause it was great at exporting data. Id been trying Tap Log Records too because it lets younote other things in addition to time.
11. I wanted to integrate time tracking into my dashboard, too, so I added a very simple time-tracking feature. It wasnt as fancy or flexible as the apps I used, but it worked the way I wantedto work.
12. Since images made it much easier to make clothing decisions, I looked for ways I could visualizetime so that I could more easily make time decisions. I made a few bullet graphs to help me zeroin on my targets.
13. Bullet graphs (image from Wikipedia)A bullet graph is a compact graph that shows your thresholds and actual performance. That way,you can easily see where you are in the range and how far you have to go. I colored my graphsred or green to make it easy to glance at them.
14. In addition to the bullet graphs, I also visualized how I was spending my time. I wanted to see ifmy sleep times were all over the place (they vary a bit) and get a rough idea of how my daywent.
15. When I was tracking clothes, I looked at this dashboard daily. Tracking time meant that I wasnow checking it hourly or even more frequently. That made it even easier to make tracking andreviewing part of my routines.
16. I also started using the time data as part of my weekly review and planning process. If I spentless time on a personal project one week, I tried to spend more time the following week.
18. My husband and I are big fans of the Toronto Public Library. We borrow so many items that itcan be hard to track whats due, so I added some code to my dashboard to get the data from thelibrary system and show me the next date.
19. Since I already had the data, I figured Id get it to keep my reading history too. Knowing thatweve checked out more than 500 items over the last six months makes me feel
20. Wed also signed up for a community-supported agriculture program some time ago, and Iwanted to track just how much we received of each type of vegetable.
21. So I added that to my dashboard as well. Every time we received a box of vegetables, I weighedthe vegetables and updated my dashboard. We used this to prioritize our cooking so that weremembered to use up old vegetables.
22. After a couple of seasons, I had a lot of data on what we received, what we ate, and what weended up throwing away. Based on that data, we decided to try just buying our own vegetables.Thats going well, too.
23. There are all these little tracking ideas that you might not find a pre-built application for. Sure,you can track them on paper or in a spreadsheet - those tools are very flexible.
24. But its worth learning how to build a personal dashboard with your own simple tracking tools.That way, you can experiment with all sorts of ideas, and maybe even cross-reference your data.
25. You can play around with the way you review your data, and discover how you can use that datato make new decisions easily. When you make data part of the way you make decisions, trackingbecomes a lot more fun -- and useful.
26. You might even decide to share some of your data publicly, like the way I do atQuantifiedAwesome.com. I share my clothing records just for fun. Ever since I started doing so, Ihavent had a pajama day - I always want to have something up there!
27. You might even decide to share some of your data publicly, like the way I do atQuantifiedAwesome.com. I share my clothing records just for fun. Ever since I started doing so, Ihavent had a pajama day - I always want to have something up there!
28. If youd like to play around with some of these ideas, check out quantifiedawesome.com. Youcan actually register with a new account, Google, or Facebook, and try out some of these ideas.Its totally a hobby project, so Id love your feedback.
29. But dashboards are very personal and youll probably want to tweak things to fit the way youwork, so Ive also released the source code under the MIT license. Look for the "Source" link inthe footer of quantifiedawesome.com
30. If I can help you with any questions or youd like to bounce around some ideas, find me onTwitter as @sachac, check out my data at QuantifiedAwesome.com, or read my blog atLivingAnAwesomeLife.com. Happy to help!