The Quantified Self – One Step at a Time

Screenshot Jawbone Up

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I recently decided to buy a Jawbone Up device. It’s a wristband connected to a mobile app that tracks how you eat, sleep and move. When I was just about to unpack it, my best friend told me in misbelief that I am slowly but surely about to turn into an android – in the Star Trek sense. She might be right, and I don’t mind ;) I always liked to use digital media in a diary kind of way. Combined with the goal to lead a healthy life, this little gadget seemed to be the perfect addition. I know I should stop smoking in the first place. But when it comes to all the other aspects of health, I figured out that simply the fact that you can’t avoid the facts and have a daily reminder literally at hand works magic… sometimes. I love to walk, I prefer healthy food, and sleeping is one of my favourite activities. But business and office life sometimes let you forget about those basic needs. So I thought it’s a good idea to let technology remind me of those things.


So far it hasn’t really turned my life around. But being forced – simply by seeing it every day – to make sure I introduce some breaks into my work life for the sake of moving around helps, step by step. What I most like and hate about this gadget is a feature that reminds you to get up and walk around about after a certain period of inactivity. I have set this reminder at 30 minutes, which can be a pain sometimes, especially when you are focussed on a certain task. But then again, why not walk around while making phone calls, and also use it as a reminder to drink some water? I’ve also introduced some changes to force myself to move more in the office, like putting my paper bin very, very far away from my desk, so the reminder won’t complain. Also, at the end of the day, you feel kind of proud when you have reached all your goals – like 10,000 steps and 8 hours of sleep per day. Which seems to work quite well during vacation, as the screenshot at the top of this article proves ;)


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