You are what you track

I work for a division of a fairly massive multi-national corporation.  I guess I could have just described it as a big company, but then I would have missed out on a golden opportunity to post a photo of Number 2… and why the hell would I do that?  Come on people!

One of the pieces of my job and that of many people working in corporate America is compiling, analyzing and reviewing data for anything of value to your company.  Maybe it’s some new trend in sales data that will affect how a new product is brought to market or perhaps it’s something in the financial numbers that suggests the company is not being as efficient as it needs to be in certain areas of the business.  Whatever it may be, it’s not only an important piece of the business world, it’s a borderline obsession at times where no decision can be considered without absolute mounds upon mounds of data.

The fine folks at Lifehacker spent some time looking at how the collection and analysis of data could be of value to people’s individual lives. Interesting notion and one I guess I do to a certain degree either through my tracking of my weight training sessions or the amount I use Evernote to capture thoughts throughout my day.

So I can see there may be some value in all of this, especially if you have a goal you are shooting for where some careful tracking will help keep you on the mark.  The only thing that made me feel borderline queasy in reading the post was the idea of how some uber-geeks are looking to track everything in their lives.  Ugh.  I cannot even imagine, especially given the extent to which I sift through data at work.  Why in the world would I want to do that to such a large extent at home?

A product I saw someone mention in the article comments was FitBit, something I had never heard of before.  It’s this small little device that tracks your daily activity as well as your sleep.  It then uploads the data wirelessly to your FitBit tracking station as you walk past it.  Kind of interesting.  Now, on some of this, I would wonder what value I would get out of it.  Wouldn’t I know I was sleeping poorly when I keep waking up feeling like crap?  The daily movement tracking (how far I walked, how many calories I burned, etc.) could be moderately useful too, but again, I am not sure I would care too much if I was burning enough calories from just generally moving around in a day.  I work in an office all day long… I already know the answer to that question.  No, not so much.

So how about you? Anything in particular you track and, even more importantly, what action do you take on the data you collect?

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