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I’ve been tracking different things in my life for the past 12 months, here’s what I learned

Ram Neimark, 3/29/23

This blog was also published on Medium

Introduction (that is also a full disclosure)

I’m a software engineer and an entrepreneur, and about a year ago I started thinking about an idea for a new project. I had this big idea related to physical well-being, that was eventually narrowed down to a simple utility app. The simple app enables easy self-tracking, for anything you care about.

I’ve been using an evolving version of this app myself for the past year, tracking different things in my life and trying to learn from that. I decided to write this blog post about what I have learned because I thought it’s generally interesting, and of course, also to invite anyone interested in experimenting with such tracking themselves to check out the app.

Other than some relevant information about how the tracking works, and informative screenshots from the app, there’s not going to be any further marketing material (maybe just another link at the end).


What was I tracking?

  • General feeling- “How are you?”
    • Tracked 4 times a day (10:00, 14:00, 18:00, 22:00) + if/when I feel a change
    • Logged “👍” for 10, “👊” for 5, and “👎” for 0
  • Energy level- “How energetic are you?”
    • Tracked 3 times a day (10:30, 14:30, 18:30) + if/when I feel a change
    • Logged “💪” for 10, “😃” for 8, “🙂” for 6, “😐” for 4, “🥱” for 2, and “😵‍💫” for 0.
  • Simple daily exercise- “Work out?”
    • Tracked once a day at 8 pm.
    • Logged “1️⃣” for yes, and “0️⃣” for no.
  • Different general aches (stomach, back, ear, and more).
    • Tracked separately, when relevant, with a binary score.
  • Personal development progress milestones (for example completing a language lesson group on Duolingo).
    • Tracked when relevant.

* Some of the trackings started later and were only done for part of the mentioned 12 months

How was I tracking?

The app I mentioned in the introduction notifies me on the times I define, with the tracking question and defined responses. I respond by clicking on the emoji responses directly from the notification itself, on my phone or watch. It takes 2 seconds to respond, and I try my best not to overthink it.

For non-frequent events (in my case the aches and personal progress), I open the app and track when relevant.

What was I expecting to gain?

Tbh I’m not quite sure, but here are a few reasons I decided to start with it:

  • I believe some of our minor-medium physical “inconveniences” can be easy to treat (some examples of easy treatment can be minor habit changes, taking supplements, or nutritional adjustments). I wanted to see if I can find such treatments to affect my tracking scores and try to optimize accordingly.
  • “I’m always grumpy on Wednesdays”- someone told me this when I was doing research on the problem. I found that observation to be super interesting, and was curious to learn: is there a specific day I am not at my best on?
  • I believed having the habit of logging certain activities might increase my liability and motivation to persist in them (for example workouts).
  • I’ve had some repeating pains in the past (not something serious at all, fortunately). The pain frequency wasn’t very high, and it also varied a lot. I went to a doctor once or twice to try to figure out how to treat this and I noticed that because the frequency varied so much, I couldn’t even tell her how often it occurs. This specific pain was one of the first things I started tracking, and also added other ones. I was hoping to make it easier for me to find correlations between them and other things in my life, so it hopefully helps me think of ways to treat them.

What did I learn?

Note: in the screenshots below, I have redacted the absolute score values. I think they can vary a lot between different people, and relativity is what matters here anyway.

My general feeling is quite ok :)

I kind of expected there to be more “low-middle” logs than there actually were.

It’s about stable throughout the days of the week

Graph of 'How are you' average score by day of the week
How are you?

And has a minor decline through the time of the day (5% between the highest 10 am to the lowest 10 pm)

Graph of 'How are you' average score by hour of the day
How are you?

I was trying to experiment with some vitamin supplements to try to improve my general feeling. It seems like things somewhat improved, but I think I haven’t had enough tracking samples before starting to take them.

Experiment data and effects on tracking screenshot example- vitamin D effects on 'How are you' tracking
Vitamin D experiment

There is space to improve my energy levels

My energy levels scores are actually lower than I expected. I rarely mark the highest score “💪”, and in general there’s space to improve them (researching for experiments atm).

It’s also much less stable wrt day of the week: Thursday is the lowest and is 7% lower than the highest Saturday and Sunday.

Graph of 'How energetic are you' average score by day of the week
How energetic are you?

Same as general feeling, this also declines through the time of the day: 6 pm score is 8.5% lower than the 10 am score (I’m neglecting the 11 am score that’s on the screenshot because it only has 6 logs compared to the others’ ~160)

Graph of 'How energetic are you' average score by hour of the day
How energetic are you?

I work out significantly less on Tuesdays (!)

This is the first real surprise. Short background: I try to do a few sets of push-ups every day, usually in the mornings. I do it on most days but sometimes skip it if I’m too tired, not feeling at my best, or just don’t feel like it. It turns out that I work out significantly less on Tuesdays: ~50% less than the highest Sundays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I could have never guessed that before seeing this graph (I added the analytics feature only a long while after I started tracking).

Tbh I’m not sure what to make of it- I’m trying to figure it out now, but I do think I haven't missed a Tuesday since finding this out!

Graph of 'Work out?' sum of scores by day of the week
Work out?

I think tracking my workouts helps me persist

When I stop working out for a while (and I have, for various reasons), I keep the notifications running, and keep responding with “0️⃣”. I’m pretty sure expecting this “reporting” at the end of the day was a great motivator to resume the routine.

It is helpful to learn the frequency of my different aches

Without getting too much into personal details, I find it very useful to see their actual occurrence frequency (it's less than I expected).


I generally feel the tracking has had a decent value for me (especially wrt to the very low “cost” of it). I don’t consider the findings above life-changing just yet, but I’m sure with some more creative experimenting on optimizations, and more interesting analytics to be added to the app, there’s a lot to be gained!

If you’re interested in trying the app out yourself- you’re more than welcome to visit Trackification. I’d love to hear about your learnings if you’ll be willing to share.

Last, I’ll add a logging graph screenshot of an arbitrary week of mine: (before you ask- the China flag marks the completion of a Mandarin lesson group on Duolingo)

Example graph of all logs on a certain week
My real weekly logs

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear any feedback and suggestions (for my learnings, or the app). Did you ever experiment with a similar kind of tracking? What did you learn?