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Monthly Data Report: February 2021

Jerry Zhang
Jerry Zhang
ยท

5 min read

Background

Every day, I collect data on myself through a combination of automatic and manual methods. This allows me to measure my life in a variety of ways. While data is not perfect, it's better to have it than to not have it. Otherwise, I would be flying blind without any way to know where I am and the direction I'm heading.

This is a systematic way for me to track where I am and strive to become better. It's not a perfect way and will probably require tweaking, but it's the best that I have so far for myself. I'm always happy to welcome any and all suggestions.

This is my monthly report on the data that I've collected on myself over the past month. Below, I present a review of my performance on what went well and where I can improve.

Anchor Habits

I have 4 physical calendars which I use to cross off my daily anchor habits. I explain this more in depth here.

My February 2021 Anchor Habits Calendars

Results

Anchor Habit Days Success Rate
No-Sit Rule 22/28 78%
Morning Deep Work 19/28 67%
Perfect Day 11/28 39%
On-Time Sleep 15/28 53%

Reflection

No-Sit Rule

For the most part, I did pretty well. However, the misses were all chained together. 3 days in a row, twice, on the third week. Guess it's really true that breaking a habit also counts as a habit.

For next month, I'm not expecting 100%, but I'd like to exceed 80%, with lapses no more than 2 days in a row.

Morning Deep Work

Overall, not bad here. Similar to the no-sit rule, the misses were all chained together. 3 missing streaks that contain 2-3 days in a row. Habits die hard.

Next month, I'd like this to exceed 70%.

Perfect Day

I'm still feeling this one out, so I'm willing to forgive the low success rate or 39%. I'd like to keep the standards on this high and not compromise on this.

Not expecting much on this for next month, but 50% would be nice.

On-Time Sleep

Until I calculated the percentage, I thought I did okay. But 53% is actually pretty low. On 6 nights, I slept around 10 or 10:30pm, which is only 1-1.5 hours off. I'm glad I'm strict on this, but I hope I can be more disciplined to prevent these slips.

Next month, I'm hoping to exceed 60%.

Health

Every day, I record personal health metrics, such as food consumed, physical exercise, and weight. My Apple Watch also tracks heart rate and a variety of other metrics, but I haven't figured out how to integrate that into my health dashboard yet. More info here.

Results

Health Metric Days Success Rate
Calories Consumed 7/28 25%
Calories Burned 21/28 75%
Net Calories 14/28 50%

Reflection

Calories Consumed Within Limit

I did abysmally bad this month. Food just takes too good, especially when I have a cousin who cooks restaurant-quality food in large portions. Quality and quantity! It's a lose-lose combo. I don't mind binging every once in awhile since it's healthy to get that urge out of my system. But regularly is not okay.

Next month, I'd like to raise this to 50%.

Calories Burned At Expectation

I'm doing pretty well in this category. I run 2 miles almost every day, which is really good. I do need to somehow account for rest days as well, but I haven't figured this out just yet.

Next month, I'd like to keep it at this rate or higher.

Net Calories Within Limit

This is not bad at 50%. This is probably due to my consistent exercise. Net calories is meant to be a combination of calories consumed and calories burned. Interestingly, 50% is exactly between 25% and 75%.

Next month, let's see if I can get up to 60%.

Weight

I started this month at 149.8 lbs and ended at 152.2 lbs. This is definitely a reflection of my high calorie consumption this month. Unfortunately, I'm missing some data in the middle of the month. But overall, the deviation didn't go beyond 2 lbs throughout Februrary, which is good. We don't want too much variation.

Finances

Every month, I'll track my life expenses to make sure I'm living well below my means. This report excludes loan payments, gifts, investments, and living costs such as rent or utilities.

Results

Category Amount
Entertainment $24.98
Food $190.35
Grooming $34.46
Shopping $247.81
Phone $30.60
Total $528.20

Reflection

Entertainment

I tried out Tesla's premium connectivity for $10 last month, and forgot to cancel it this month. It's not really worth it, unless you go on a road trip. I hardly use it when I drive. Otherwise, I have Spotify and Medium, both of which I use and will continue to use.

Food

This includes both groceries and restaurants. I'm pretty good with this expense. I deem anything under $200 to be good.

Grooming

This is a one-time expense that happens every once in awhile. I had to buy new razor blades for my electric razor.

Shopping

Upon the suggestion of my optometrist, I bought a pair of really nice sunglasses that has UV protection and polarization. It had better last.

Phone

The correct amount.

Time

I use Google Calendar to plan my time (forward-looking) and record my time (backward-looking). This bi-directionally looking strategy helps me keep myself accountable with my time week-over-week. The main metric I'm looking at is the amount of time I spent performing deep work and the results. As a peripheral, I'll also track time wasted and a breakdown of my total time.

Results

Time Metric W1 W2 W3 W4 Total
Deep Work Hours 2 1 0.5 1 4.5
Deliverables Produced 1 0 0 0 1
Hours Wasted 7 11 40.5 19 77.5

Reflection

Deep Work Hours Spent

I only spent a total of 4.5 hours this entire month doing deep work. This is bad. This is really bad. I'm so glad I put together my time dashboard because now I know this and can improve. I'm also glad to be doing this report for public accountability, which gives me pressure to do better.

Next month, I hope to spend 10 hours per week on average.

Deep Work Deliverables Produced

Aside from weekly newsletters, I only published 1 article this month. I'm ashamed to call myself a content creator at this rate. This is not surprising given the 4.5 hours of deep work I spent. If I spend more time on deep work, the deliverable count will surely rise. Of course, that only measures quantity and not quality. I'm not sure how to measure quality yet.

Next month, I hope to have 2 deliverables per week on average.

Hours Wasted

I wasted a lot of time in February. Week 3 was especially unacceptable at up to 40 hours. I cannot keep this up, or else I'll rot away.

Next month, I hope to keep this under 10 hours per week on average.

Conclusion

This month is the first month that I'm doing these reports. I hope that by doing this, I can keep myself honest and also have some public accountability. When you need to publish results, that scrutiny applies pressure for you to do better. Or at least I hope that's true.

Overall, I'm glad that I have a system in place to collect this data and report on it. However, data collection is meaningless if we don't draw insights from them and act on it. If data collection doesn't help me, I shouldn't bother wasting my time collecting because I can use that time instead to perform deep work. It's the cost of visibility.

Jerry Zhang

Programmer, YouTuber, and amateur musician. I like to write too!