I’ve never considered myself to be a “life hacker” by any means. I have been concentrated on my career and comfort in the past decade and that came at some great costs. So, I decided to start formulating a plan to make changes to my life based on metrics. I will become a life hacker — for better or worse.
Metrics imply measurability and that’s what I intend to concentrate on at first — things that I can measure, change behavior, then measure again. While there is non-empirical consequence to many decisions that I make on a daily basis, I decided to start here. For instance, my first metric-based decision of the decade was to avoid stopping at Starbucks this morning. I estimate that a stop at Starbucks averages 15 minutes of my time, $5 of my wealth, and a negative drag on my health (250 calories, 47 carbs, and 180mg of sodium taken from my daily allowances of those items). A case could be made that this has decreased my momentary happiness. I’m not measuring that. In fact, I’m trying to do away with decisions based on immediacy. While my short-term aggrivation is great, I am speculating that over time this will turn into a net-positive for my happiness.
There are a lot of things that I want to change in my life this decade. But I’m going to concentrate on a few major areas, and break them down further as it makes sense to do so. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to come up with an automated process to view my progress and give myself “triggers” to remind me when I’m slipping. Eventually, I’d like every decision I make to tigger a flurry of facts in my head before moving forward. That should also make its way into my structured planning for the day, week, month, quarter and year.
So here are the areas where I’m going to concentrate:
- Health – I’d like to improve my health through better nutrician, exercise, and sleeping habits. I will be measuring:
- Daily intake of calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, sodium, and water.
- Daily exercise in the form of pedometer-tracked steps, cardio minutes, weight lifted and reps per exercise, and stretching minutes.
- Weekly weight
- Hour slept and number of times I woke up
- Wealth – I need to start planning and budgeting better. While I’m not exactly a spend-aholic, I can do better in my planning and spending decisions. I will track:
- Monthly savings contribution as a $ amount and a percentage of income
- Weekly investment changes
- Daily discretionary spending
- Quarterly credit score
- Time – This is where I hurt the most. I don’t have enough time in the day to do everything I want. I’m hoping making metric-based decisions will free up some time and help me better plan. I will track:
- Time spent blogging
- Time spent learning
- Time spent on household chores
- Time spent commuting
- Others – I will add additional metrics as I think of them or as I see a need to improve this process.
Obviously each of these are going to need base-lined for a month or so. I will be using whatever tools I can to accomplish this base-line. I’m planning on using an Omron HJ-720ITC Pocket Pedometer with Health Management Software to track my steps. I’m using the iPhone LiveStrong app as well as CalorieKing to track my daily nutrition and exercise metrics. I’m considering the Zeo Sleep Coach after Scott Hanselman recommended it, but for now I’ll just use some plain old pen/paper tracking, so to speak. I may also pick up on the Nike+iPhone app at some point, but not just yet.
If you are interested in tracking my progress and keeping me honest, I will be posting what I can under the “life hack” category on this site.
Happy new year everyone!