I finally have a bit more time, so I thought to have a closer look at the personal tracking I do, if there’s any interesting insights to be gained. If you are not familiar with UAS, please familiarized yourself first in this post.
Love for Statistics
I’ve been always obsessed in statistics and been done self-tracking since 2009. In the current form and system though this was the first full year that passed, though had I tracked all of 2013 with this system, I believe that it would’ve had higher score. I worked a lot, but let other areas of my life slip a little bit. There’s lies, damn lies and then there’s a statistic. I’ve not really ever believed in that though, I do believe that in these numbers there’s some patterns and insights to be found that can be useful for future, so let’s delve into it.
One of the first things I was suspecting was that strong start for the week was important for the overall score of the week – the idea being of course same as in my recent video about it. So I sorted the weeks based on Monday’s score and had a look, expecting a strong correlation with best weeks. Starting strong wasn’t my forte last year though, as I only scored over 50 points on one Monday. However, that monday score did give the expected result – it was also the most productive day of the year and 2nd best all-time using this system. Second on the list was 37-point Monday, much slower start but still strong enough to spur me into 2nd best week of the year – so two best mondays of the year resulted in two best weeks of the year… I rest my case.
That said, good Monday didn’t for sure guarantee an overall good week, as rest of the top Monday scores are part of mediocre weeks. However, all my top-5 weeks are also within top 25 % of Monday scores, so you do need good start of the week to get a really good week, but just cause you start right, doesn’t mean that you won’t fizzle out – its still just a start. Tuesday seems to correlate even more with the strong weeks, my year’s top-5 weeks are all in top-6 of Tuesday scores. So while Monday can still be slightly slow, the momentum simply has to step up on Tuesday, otherwise there’s simply no chance of getting a week of great scores. Funny enough while I surpass 50 points only once on Mondays, there’s actually four days I pass that magic line on Tuesdays.
Further Weekday Analysis
Generally the higher score days tend to go to my weekends, due to me usually being forced to work more as I have to rush work in and then squeeze a lot out of myself. Wednesdays though have only high score of 53 and no other scores surpassing 50 point marker. There’s no need to go into closer analysis about rest of the days, but suffices to say that all the really high scores of 70-90 range are on the weekend.
The weekday averages have much more interesting story to tell – while I often started the week with lot of hope, averaging low but not terrible 8.5 point average, my efforts fizzled out into laziness of midweek. Yes, Tuesday might have more peak scores than Monday, but average actually is only 2.8 points, in other words I took a lot of heavy negative scores during the year. From Thursday on all the weekdays average over 20 points, peaking at 32.6 point average of Saturday. 32 points that would be among top scores on my early weekday top-lists is actually the average! Just tells the story of my perpetual life cycle of past year where I rushed in the weekends to get all my work done in just couple of days when I could’ve done it more evenly during the week.
So what does an average week in my life look like? Well, I do writing and videos (things I’ve defined as my “path” activities) for bit less than two hours, part of my 21-hour workweek (counting only effective hours), read whopping 1 hour a week, exercise roughly about every other day, and also stretch for 1.5 hours per week. Doesn’t sound too bad though obviously for getting more, I’d need to do more. I’m working about as much as average person right now, considering normal 9-5 workers usually don’t get many effective hours into their days. My physique is alright, but you can’t expect anything more from the effort I put in.
One thing I was strongly expecting was a big correlation with work hours put in and my scores. In fact, I’ve been worried if work has too much effect on the scores given there’s massive quantities of it. However, while it is a good indicator of an excellent week, it was much less of a one than I would expect, showing that the scoring system works – if you’re living your life like shit, even working hard doesn’t help, as evidenced by my 33-hour workweek which ended in a negative score.
My best week of the year ranks only sixth on the list, meaning that balanced approach is important in this system, just as it was always intended. There really isn’t any consistent correlation with any activity in terms of high scores – on my best week I clearly hauled a massive amount of points from my absurdly high water intake and nice and high protein intake – indeed with average amounts on those the best week would’ve been decent but nothing noteworthy. I scored over 100 points higher than normal in those two areas. At that point it becomes kinda system breaking but extremes can distort almost anything. There’s no reason for anyone to drink 45.5 litres of water in a week. That said, we shouldn’t study only success, we should also study failure. Perhaps one such correlation can be found on the other end of the scores?
Avoiding bad scores could arguably be even more important than achieving those high scores, so lets have a look if there’s anything we can notice to be a clear sign of a failing week so we could make that a priority when it looks like week is slipping away. To my relief, there’s only two weeks in my year that slipped completely into negative score – that being said, achieving negative score in my system is hard, and you actually need to be kind of a trainwreck to achieve that.
Ironically other of them is week 8 where I worked 33 hours, a decent amount by my standards. So work harder clearly isn’t the answer when week is going badly – my lowest work weeks are almost never among the worst ones. Not that they are amazing either, I think for a top week at least 20 hours is required, but not working does free up time to do other stuff that racks up the points. I don’t think working all the time is be-all, end-all goal of anything so in that regard my score does indeed reflect awesomeness of the weeks well.
I’m tempted to think that lack of exercise could be one of the things that pull everything else down with it. And there’s some correlation sure, but given I had 12 weeks on the year where I did no exercise sessions at all (no wonder I’m so out of shape), you’d think there’d be clearer correlation to see. It is clear though that most bad weeks had lack of exercise as uniting factor. However its not as simple as just exercising hard to make a week good – Week 35, where I got nice 9 exercise sessions in, only scored 51 points.
Our search for one key thing to a bad or good week ends mostly unfruitful though. There’s no one activity you could do to score strongly in my system – perhaps its a sign that the system is working as intended, grading the overall awesomeness of person’s life pretty well.
Looking overall at the numbers it seems clear good weeks are generally well-rounded – I just have my shit together well. Not only they have reasonable amount of work done, nutrition is usually alright and I’m working out well. On similar token, bad weeks are all around bad – while I might have one area of my life working on some weeks, I just am a mess generally, skipping workouts, not working very hard and eating poorly.
Of course, that last thing can drag your score down so much it doesn’t even help to work hard. It should be noted that as things stand, every day starts with 3 negative marks worth total of -25 so basically at the beginning of the week the score is -175 points. Once you complete your daily goal, have gone out and interacted with people and done your workout, all these negative marks have been unchecked, but its an interesting thing to consider when looking at the score. Most of the year, I missed out on my daily goals, but I don’t really have a statistic about it – most of the time my days would have -10 on them from that. Also as I was home more than 50 % of the days, I also got the other -10 of not going out.
Also as earlier stated there was lot of weeks where I didn’t workout at all. So with all the activities I did, I often was just making up for the negatives that those caused. Taking the time to set and complete a daily goal has massively disproportionate reward in point system, but for a good reason, as it is a valuable habit. Similarly just spending that little time working out is worth much more in points than any other activity – combining +6 of workout and removal of -5 from no body maintenance makes it an effectively 11 point reward. Highest return for time spent of course is going out – just doing that half an hour a day and getting your mouth moving is effectively 10 point 30 minutes, plus whatever + scores you get from it. It is that for a good reason, as it takes a lot of willpower for a shy guy like me – which is exactly why it often was left not done by me for so many days.
For next year, I will combine more of these individual statistics into my tracking spreadsheet to gain even more insights. As said, statistics are bit of a passion for me. Even if there’s nothing new to learn really, I just love looking at the numbers. Call me weird, I say its fun and intriguing.
Drop me a comment if you feel you’re up to it.