Thesis Designing for Personal Health

View the thesis here!

We observe that more “smart devices” are becoming part of our daily life, and people that quantify aspects of their lifestyle are becoming more mainstream. In doing so, they leave a huge digital footprint behind in an active and passive way.

We notice that the Quantified Self is mainly focused on creating awareness towards a healthier lifestyle. We learn that there are opportunities for realizing healthcare that is more oriented and organized around prevention. Not only on an individual level, but also on a population level. Patterns might be discovered in user data helping to support predictions in a more granular and personalized way.  At the same time, a lot of questions arise when using Quantified Self. How do these device integrate in people’s daily life? Are they as effective as we think? Do they create enough awareness and persuasion to create a sustainable and healthier lifestyle? Do they facilitate a structural behavior change with the user?  Do they continue the lifestyle they adopted during the tracking period? Or are we seeing more a temporary phenomenon in the usage and behavior changes?

RunKeeper and Goalsetting

A few months ago RunKeeper implemented goalsetting in their application. What I like about is of course the different options to set goals. Especially the tiny incremental goalssetting possibilities and the immediate feedback you get accordingly.

My routine for more then a year is to do a workout 3 times a week, if possible more, but 3 times a week for sure. I usually run 10 minutes – 10 minutes Tai Chi – another 10 minute run. So it is not a lot, it takes 30 minutes of my time, and it is easy to manage.

Since the RunKeeper update I tried different goals, but the one I really like ‘run total distance by x date. Every week I try to set another goal, just a tiny little bit higher then the previous one. So my end goal is to run 10 km a week. What the trigger is, is really simple, seeing the progress bar grow during the week in achieving my goal, this is great feedback! And after my run the awesome feeling when I get when I get immediatly the overview of what I achieved! Below the different screens that show me my evolution in reaching my goal!

If you want to start working out, try this method to aim at a long term of behavior change. It will guide you smoothly towards your next goal.

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Progress screen immediately available after your workout is finished, gives the ‘Awesome’ feeling.

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Screen two more global overview of the achievement, result of the previous week, workouts per week

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Screen 3 where the different goals that are passed, aligned with dates.

Awesome! 97% Sleep efficiency

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I think this never happened before! When I woke up I did’t had the feeling that my sleepscore would be so high, although I felt I fell in a coma from the moment my head hit the pillow last night. I was really relaxed yesterday, especially in the evening. First I went to the hairdresser, and the guy who washes your hair, is really good in head massages, it is a real pleasure to feel his hands on your head, really smooth, no words for it really. After that went to the market to buy some good food, and then had a complete body massage. Getting rid off all the stress that I had in June and July and went home. Cooked watch some tele and went to bed around 11.00. I guess it was a nice day and spoiled my brain and body. Resulting in a 97 % sleep effeciency, just awesome!

Time investment in Master New Media & Society in Europe.

I thought it would be fun to track my study moments and writing about my research during the acadamic year 2012-2013, including the summer of 2013. Just to know how much time I would spent to finish and succeed. To see my Green Span Behavior over time.

The study moments are mainly reading for my master thesis, there are 79 checkins starting October 2012. It is possible I forgot to check in, but I’m pretty rigid about it. So lets say that I studied an average of 4 hours per check in (there will be peaks here and there), that would be 316 hours 39,5 days, 1,3 month.

The writing includes writing for my thesis, writing papers, writing articles concerning my research. In total 86 checkins. The habit says 30 minutes, but it is much more than that, usually around 4 hours writing a day.Also here I started tracking in October. 344 hours, 43 days, 1,5 month.

In addition there are the classes, that are not included in the study check ins. An acadamic year is more or less 6 months activity, in the master year we had 4 hours a week (October-December, 13 weeks, 52 hours), 8 hours a week (February – May, 9 weeks, 72 hours, I noted a few weeks less, because I was abroad for a few weeks and not attending the lectures)

In total 784 hours, is 98 days, 3,2 months on  full time basis 8 hours a day. Spread over 9 months – one acadamic year.

It is not finished yet, but almost!  Thesis is in proofread, and with my promotor for a last review. So there will be some correction rounds and finetuning. When it is finished you will be able to read it here!  There are some interesting findings in there on self-tracking, if you are interested in this area stay tuned!

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Screenshots Lift App, keeping track of habits. There is overlap, because it could not go in one screenshot.

Sleep results rose in August to 88%

My sleep effeciency rose by 6% to an 88% in August compared to June – July period. Although I haven’t slept more hours, but the quality was better.  So what was so different in these months? Basically in June there were the exams for my Master to deal with. On top of that my mom had to be taking to the hospital and a few weeks after that went to a senior home. Alzheimer took over her life. So a lot on my mind. But maybe this is not all, because during these years I’m measuring my sleep my average is around 80-82 %. So these events I had in June- July did not had that big influence on my sleep, still I feel much calmer and naturally tired in the evening. Im curious how I will do in September – October when things get more busy again.

Sleepdata August 2013

Sleepdata August 2013

Sleepdata during a cold and breathing problems

Last night was my first refreshing night since days. Being sick with a serious cold and breathing problems I had a hard time sleeping well. But this morning I all of sudden felt energized again, and better, not so tired and kind a ready to start my day.

I like to share my sleeping data during these days, because even you know you are not sleeping well or feel like you slept very well, the data is always interesting to look at. Last night was very peculiar with almost no wake ups, and a high score of sleep effeciency 91%, which is very special, it doens’t happen that much, usually my score is in the 80″s.

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