Tracking and hacking your life
How programming and automation can help your personal growth
No video of the event yet, sorry!
You can’t control what you can’t measure
My talk is about how being a programmer helped get a hold of my day to day things.
When I graduated I wanted to be very conscious about spending money, so I started manual tracking. It was painfully tiring and demotivating. So I looked up the apps available. But I felt the lack of control and limitation in possibility of analysis. So I quickly wrote a scraper to get my bank balance with python and run it as a cron job in a cheap server (could go deep on the coding part, depending on the audience). But the catch was the frequency at which you get the balance. Since categorization is manual, the frequent you get the data, the more manual work. I took a step back to see what I want out of this. The biggest need is to see where big chunk of my money is going. Just like the 80–20 rule, 20% of the times you spend will add up to 80% of your spending. So I decided to track spendings on a daily basis. Apart from spending, I also had the earning information and my balance over time.
It was great, but I wanted the easiest way to categorize the spending. So built an app that shows my last 30 days’ spending, their category and also some notes on them.
It also shows if the scraper is upto date with the data and shows a red flag. I used GoogleSheets as the database for all these information and it came in handy for analyzing and visualizing it.
This is just a glimpse of what could be derived out of the data. You can build analytics based on your own needs. I didn’t stop there, next I started tracking my habits. I wrote the system is a generic way that anything could be tracked. I also built a supporting app with a neat interface. I am making it Open Source so anyone can track anything they want to. I’m working on making it easy for non tech people to setup. It’ll be a combo of Heroku and GoogleSheets (can be more technical). Now building things with a goal in mind makes you a better developer with empathy towards business needs.
Now we have a solid system for measuring and showing us exactly where to improve, we need to control it, let it be money or habits. There’s two aspects to control — mind and body.
- Have a Reward/Punishment system
- Change your environment that pushes you to change
- Reprogram your mind by introspecting and understanding your needs
- Understand it’s a different kind of entity
- Listen to it and learn the communication medium
- Talk his tongue and make it work
(Can go deeper on the control part based on time)
- 2017 May 20 - 14:00
- 1 h
- Lunar Valley
- hillhacks 2017
- Conference 18-21 May