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Monthly Data Report: March 2021

Jerry Zhang
Jerry Zhang
ยท

6 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.

I will be comparing myself with last month's report.

Anchor Habits

I have 4 physical calendars which I use to cross off my daily anchor habits.

My March 2021 Anchor Habits Calendars

Results

Anchor Habit Days Success Rate
No-Sit Rule 21/31 67%
Morning Deep Work 20/31 64%
Perfect Day 9/31 29%
On-Time Sleep 20/31 64%

Reflection

No-Sit Rule

I had a good start to the month, but I started to struggle by the 4th week. It was likely due to a lot of work stress, but I know it's not wise to make excuses.

Last month I was at 78%. This month I'm down to 67%. For next month, I'd like to gun for 80%.

Morning Deep Work

This was almost the same as my No-Sit Rule, which should be about correct. If I get a good head start to my day, I should be able to use my mornings efficiently as well.

Last month I was at 67%. This month I'm about the same at 64%. For next month, I'd like to get to 70%.

Perfect Day

Still feeling this one out. I'm starting to see this as a metric to measure my mood for the month. If I get a better idea of how I want to use this calendar, perhaps I'll make this more specific than its currently vague definition.

Last month I was at 39%. This month I'm down to 29%. For next month, let's see if I can get to 50%.

On-Time Sleep

This was also almost the same as my No-Sit Rule, which should also be correct. If I get a good night's sleep the night before, I should be able to wake up on time and have an awesome morning.

Last month I was at 53%. This month I'm up to 64%, exceeding my goal of 60%. Nice improvement. For next month, let's see if I can get to 70%.

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 19/31 61%
Calories Burned 24/31 77%
Net Calories 26/31 83%

Reflection

Calories Consumed Within Limit

Other than the insane 3-day spike in week 4, I did pretty well this month. Admittedly, it was probably stress-eating on those days that I caved.

Last month, I was abysmally low at 25%, with a goal to raise this to 50%. I exceeded last month's goal for this month, which is really good. For next month, let's see if I can get to 70%.

Calories Burned At Expectation

Pretty solid here. I did my usual daily morning 2-mile run. Again, in week 4, I had a pretty difficult time all-around, so I ran less. But it's okay, since things like that are bound to happen.

Last month, I was at 75%. This month I'm about the same, which is good. Next month, I'd like to maintain this rate.

Net Calories Within Limit

Again, other than week 4, I did great in this area.

Last month, this was at 50%. This month I saw a huge improvement to 83%, which is awesome. Next month, I'd like to maintain this rate.

Weight

I started this month at 152 lbs and ended 151.8 lbs. My monthly max was 152.6 lbs and my month min was 149.2 lbs. My monthly low was toward the end of week 3, and I bet my week 4 stress-eating brought it back up. It happens. I'm hoping next week I can be a bit more steady and avoid a stress-eating scenario.

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
Car $36.64
Entertainment $14.99
Food $301.23
Grooming $28.00
Shopping $205.96
Personal $13.00
Phone $30.60
Total $630.42

Reflection

Car

2 years in, I had to replace my car's air filters. It's nice and cheap to do it DIY.

Entertainment

Spotify and Medium, all that I need. Though, regarding subscriptions, I'm considering subscribing to some news sources to get more quality news. This might go up next month.

Food

Up from under $200 last month to $300 this month. Not good. I did have a fancy restaurant meal this month, but I also visited the bakery a lot to get pastries and bread. Hoping to keep this under $200 next month.

Grooming

I got a haircut this month.

Shopping

I bought some kitchenware this month: bowls, spoons, and an air fryer. I also bought some books.

Personal

Some random errand that had a fee.

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 W5 Total
Deep Work Hours 3.5 6 9 8 8.5 35
Deliverables Produced 0 1 2 0 0 3
Hours Wasted 12.5 25 9 20.5 13.5 80.5

Reflection

Deep Work Hours Spent

I did much better compared to last month, 35 hours of deep work instead of the pitiful 4.5. I did add in reading as deep work since it does take concentration to do. Last month I was hoping to have 10 hours on average per week, and I'm getting close.

Deep Work Deliverables Produced

I tripled compared to last month, which is pretty good progress. But the number is still low. As much as I'd love to make excuses, I'm simply wasting too much time. Not quite at the 2 per week I was hoping for.

Hours Wasted

Again, wasted quite a bit of time. A bit far off from averaging under 10 hours. I have a feeling I'll see a huge productivity boost when this metric's average is lower than deep work hours.

Conclusion

This month is my second month doing these reports. You can see my report from last month here. Overall, I'm finding it quite helpful to see my own measurements. For example, I noticed across the board that week 4 was pretty miserable this month. My anchor habits fell, and my health stats fell due to stress-eating. I would not have caught this if I didn't do this report.

I do feel a little bit of pressure since I'm publishing these publicly, but not too much that I go crazy and am not willing to forgive myself. As long as I maintain a good balance between the two, this will be healthy.

Jerry Zhang

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