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This is my personal blog which I began in February 2001. I called it The Obvious? when I wrote anonymously and chose the name to reflect the fact I have to overcome my inhibitions about stating the obvious!

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Monday
Oct122009

Self-tracking

Doc Searls, in a post in which he suggests Subscribe Sunday as a blog equivalent of Twitter's Follow Friday, references self-tracking - the practise of monitoring and recording aspects of one's daily life.

Spookily, about a week or so ago I started using Daytum again. Daytum is a web based tool for keeping count of pretty much anything you want and has a nice iPhone friendly mobile version that makes keeping track of things very easy. I had played with it a while ago but this time decided to use it seriously to track my caffeine intake and a number of other aspects of my life.

I guess self-tracking may seem a tad narcissistic to some but then it is in many ways a similar activity to blogging. I always used to justify blogging by quoting Plato's "an unexamined life is not worth living" and indeed "if it can't be measured it can't be managed".

Buster Benson does a pretty good job of explaining self-tracking and why it is worthwhile on his blog Enjoymentland and taking Doc's lead I too have subscribed!

Reader Comments (4)

There's nothing narcissistic about self-tracking - it's a fantastically effective way to hold oneself accountable, and to encourage oneself to stick with it. I track how many days I've abstained from sugar, for example, and I so badly do not want to restart at day one that I don't even consider it an option to order dessert or sneak an ice cream on the way home.

I think it's more narcissistic to regard oneself above self-improvement. :)

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJackie Danicki

Not exactly self-tracking – more like self-observation, or self-inquiry – was a week-long Fourth Way/Gurdjieff exercise I found in Google Books and tried to follow over a week or two in the summer.

It's called 'The Game of Stops': you try to stop everything and sense your body at various points during the day (eg out of bed, breakfast, 10am, 3pm, in the door etc). I think you're also meant to count to 10, and 'divide your attention' (eg focus on both your right foot and your left foot).

The perfect score you can get for the week is 70.

Try it some time!

I dread to think how low my score was - I could barely do it at all.

So much for 'free will'... ;-)

The book I found the exercise in is here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=gQBAXndK3f8C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=false

... and the exercise is on p117of it.

Some sophisticated leadership development work (eg Prof Bill Torbert's 'Developmental Action Inquiry') makes use of these kinds of exercises, so it's not necessarily just a load of New Agey narcissism... ;-)

Matthew

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Mezey

Interesting. I have been having Alexander Technique lessons for the past year or so and part of that is what they call inhibition:

In the Alexander Technique, the term refers to a learned process, in which a person chooses to stop or inhibit a habitual reaction to a stimulus. This allows the individual a moment’s pause, in which to choose whether or not to respond to the stimulus and if so, how to perform an action in response.

October 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterEuan

The importance of that pause between stimulus and response - and the difficulty of learning to cultivate the practice of putting it there - shouldn't be underestimated. I've struggled with this for nearly three years - before, I had no idea it mattered! Oh, does it ever...

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJackie Danicki

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