Hack your commute: Make a life log

Marketing Week’s ‘Hack your commute’ series uncovers inspiring and fulfilling ways to spend your journeys to and from work that will expand your mind and broaden your horizons.

Many users of Fitbit and other life-tracking gadgets will have experienced the rush of satisfaction at their new acquisition, followed by the slow realisation that the data you have collected is entirely pointless, and ultimately the dejected resignation that it won’t, in fact, change your life.

But all marketers should know by now that the best way to effect a change in any given variable is to track how it trends over time and understand the factors that govern it. And as they should also be aware, you can’t track what you don’t measure.

Wearables and the internet of things could indeed provide the most convenient means of monitoring aspects of your life you want to improve, but rather than putting the technological cart before the life-goal horse, it makes sense first to determine what you most want to change and what you actually possess the power to influence.

The disincentive for life-logging is that the investment of time and effort can be greater than the gains are worth. So pick small and manageable objectives, then you can easily create useful data – with or without a widget – that informs your next move.

Are you feeling constantly exhausted? Use your journey to work each morning to record when you woke up, when you got to work, when you left and when you went to bed the day before. You may notice a trend of working too much, sleeping too little or keeping irregular hours that explains your lethargy. Then you can adjust your habits accordingly.

Are you unable to complete your work in office hours because you’re always being dragged away from your desk? Monitor the number and length of meetings you’re attending each week, and who is calling them, and you may be able to make the case for scaling them back to improve productivity.

If you measure the same data points by the same method consistently over time, even if just scribbled in a notebook, you’ll be able to understand your behaviours better and change them if necessary.

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