10 Feb 2022 - Tobias Klöpper
This is it. My whole year of 2021 inside on Spreadsheet. At the start of the year I did not think it would go this far. It all started with a blog post on Ycombinator about a guy, who tracked everything he did in a year…
And he did it every 15 minutes! At that time the idea seemed crazy in my eyes. Moreover he actually linked a copy to his spreadsheet. Curiosity got me good and I copied the sheet to my documents. It just took me 5 days to start recording my activities. Even though it felt mundane at the start, the tracking system was already established and easily improved according to my tasks.
The tracking is done for every day in an interval of 15 minutes. First the current broader activity is noted. E.g. “S” for sleep, “WL” for low intensity work or “Q” for quality time. Sure thing but quality time does not seem to be descriptive. Therefore every main category has a minor category associated with it. For example you could combine “-yt” with the major category quality to track watching Youtube. Working could be combined with the type of work you are doing. For me this included coding, working on my parents farm or doing some studying for my degree.
The above picture shows all data points I collected during the last year. Since the data points are not readable, I will try to summarize the last year in a few sentences. First of all you might have noticed the gap in the first quarter of the year. Well my internet line was cut and I was too lazy to track my days without a connection. Literally the physical line was down, because a tree hit the line.
My year can be broken down into three different “life stages”. At the start of the year I conducted some research for my Bachelor Thesis and had a lot of free time to do other things, such as gaming. Therefore my gaming time was not limited to the evenings, but the time before lunch was also used to play.
After the connection loss the second stage started. In this part my focus was on writing and finishing my Bachelor Thesis. The mornings and afternoons were occupied by studying/writing (indicated as light and dark blue). But in the evenings my time was used to watch youtube or play some games with friends. This stage lasted until july.
The last stage started around august/september. At this point I started working at my first job after university. Excluding the weekends you can clearly see the five day workdays. The evenings were spent watching movies or youtube. On the other hand green data points after work indicated low or high intensity workouts. It was convenient to go bouldering after work, because the gym was near my workplace.
Interestingly enough, during the first two stages you can clearly see my breaks during working or gaming. The morning started off with breakfast, then I ate lunch around twelve o’clock and around about five or six in the evening dinner was eaten. This is not as clear during my job, because I did not track my lunch time.
The second diagram just shows the percentage of time spent on an activity during a day. It is kinda fun to see the increase of work over the last year and the reduction in spending quality time on stuff I like (blue and pink datapoints).
Here are some “fun” stats of my last year:
My mood level seemed to be fluctuating during the year. But it seems like it improved in the later part of the year and it had fewer down phases. Maybe this is correlated with a stable job and less stress during university, which could be one of the causes during the first half of the year? I will keep an eye out on my mood during 2022. But it seems that my mood has been on a stable level so far.
One of things the original thread author did, was to add a scoring system for each activity. Stuff like watching youtube or browsing social media was scoring bad and doing research or learning new things was rated highly. Well I did add a similar scoring system but it did not motivate me to spend more time learning new stuff. Especially since my job occupies a lot of my time and the remaining hours are often used to workout or to meet friends. On the other hand I might have to focus a bit more on self improvement and go back to a bit more coding. Next year will be interesting.
As you might have guessed (and read) already, my year 2022 will be tracked as well. I am excited to see which activities my time will be used. Currently I am adding the specific type of content I am consuming to a category such as gaming. This might be fun to see on which content I spend a lot of time in 2022. Maybe I should be writing more blog posts..