We all have personal goals we'd like to reach, many of which relate to health, fitness, or energy.  A key step towards reaching those goals is tracking progress, and that requires data. This is where nifty tools like the UP by Jawbone come in.

Since I started wearing a Jawbone UP six months ago, I've learned an incredible amount of information about my life. This is one of those devices you could only have dreamed of a decade ago, but you can now order for less than $100.

The device is a small wristband which is designed to be worn 24/7. It's so lightweight that I often forget I'm wearing it, but when synced with the UP app (available for iOS or Android) you get all kinds of information about your movements throughout the day. There are three main ways you can use this device to quantify your life and get the most out of that data.

1. Track your steps

The step-counter is the main reason I ordered an UP, actually. I was running less often during the cold winter months, and per Michael Hyatt's recommendation I decided to invest in a step-counter. I compared the Fitbit Flex & the Jawbone UP, and ultimately went with the UP because most reviews said Jawbone's app was superior.

I'm sure you've seen simple step-counters before, but this one also provides personalized reports on your pace, calories burned, and miles walked. You can even track specific exercises like lifting weights or cardio and get similar reports. Best of all, the app relies on user-specific data like weight, height, age, and gender to cater the results to you.

2. Track your diet

I don't use this feature as much as I probably should, but the UP app allows you to log your food and drink intake at every meal. You can use this all the time to monitor your calorie consumption and keep track of your diet, or you can just make a note when you drink a glass of water so you know you're staying well-hydrated.

Because the app is set up to sync your data with many other services—like MyFitnessPal, IFTTT, and Lose It!—your options for what you do with it are nearly endless. You can even download all your data to your computer and play with it in a spreadsheet, making pie charts and bar graphs to your heart's content.

3. Track your sleep

Have you ever woken up feeling exhausted, even though you've been in bed for hours? I have, but until I started tracking my sleep I didn't understand that this was because I was getting plenty of light sleep—but not enough deep sleep.

Based on your movements throughout the night, the UP tracks both light and deep sleep, interspersed with periods where you appear to have woken up during the night. This allows you to learn about your sleep habits and work towards achieving more restful sleep.

My favorite feature: The Jawbone UP lets you set smart alarms that wake you up with a light vibration during your lightest periods of sleep. You can set this to go off around a certain time (up to 20 minutes before 6 a.m., for example) or put the device in power nap mode to wake you up after the optimal amount of short rest. I use this every day.

The longer you've used the Jawbone UP, the more useful your data becomes. You can set goals, track progress, and view trends through the UP app. Jawbone gives you daily insights & tips based on your recent activity, and even lets you share your data socially with friends & family if you want accountability partners (or just to show off). With the help of this device, I've become stronger, more self-aware, and more energetic.

What apps or tools do you use to collect data about your life?

2 thoughts on “Living it UP with a Quantified Life

  1. I’m considering one of these at some point. I got a Withings Wifi scale and blood pressure cuff a while back. I haven’t used it as much since we’re in the process of moving, but I love the idea of having all this data to play with and learn from. I’m also building out some SmartThings home automation, so one of these + IFTTT would let me do some nifty things like turn on the bathroom light and coffeemaker when I wake up, etc…

    1. Daniel, those are some really interested ideas. I didn’t realize until I was writing this post, actually, that you could sync UP data with IFTTT so I was brainstorming last night about the kind of things that made possible. Those are definitely some nifty ideas! Smart technology in the home is a big interest of mine. I pre-ordered a Nymi Band, looking forward to giving that a shot.

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