How Lifelogging Works

Types of Lifelogging Tools

Lifelogging has been around in some form or fashion for centuries. Back in the 1980s my dad used a notepad and a book containing calorie counts to painstakingly track his intake. Going back even further to 1726, Benjamin Franklin created his own system to track 13 virtues. Each day he noted whether he successfully practiced each one (humility, temperance, sincerity, cleanliness, moderation, etc.), using the findings to do better the next day. Interested in the concept? Put away that pen and paper and download the Ben's Virtues app or track your progress online at Thirteen Virtues. Here are a few others good old Ben might have approved of:

Mood: People who experience regular emotional fluctuations are turning to mood tracking apps to help them identify when and why they're experiencing low points and even turn them around via supportive online communities. Two such sites/apps are Moodpanda and Moodscope [source: Quantified Self]. It might sound silly, but regular collection of this type of data can show a person whether or not they're happy at work, with a particular friend or at a specific time of day, which can inspire someone to take corrective action (read: ditch the terrible job and obnoxious friend who's keeping you down).

Sleep: For something that's so important to overall health and wellness, sleep is often shunned in favor of late-night reality television and other time sucks. Others simply can't settle down, thanks to insomnia, stress or other factors. Wearable sleep technology and smartphone apps are designed to decode your z's, helping people identify how much and the quality of sleep they're getting, as well as possible triggers to avoid. Many sleep experts are skeptical about how reliable these trackers are, and advise users to take the produced data with a grain of salt [source: Pappas]. Examples include Fitbit and Digifit (which have other functions, as well) and the Sleep Cycle app, among many others.

Nutrition: Apps like MyFitnessPal and Calorie Count are user-friendly, but require manual entry. They can be very eye-opening, however (I consume how much sodium?), leading people to make better nutrition choices.

Fitness:RunKeeper and Cyclemeter are two apps designed to motivate and empower users to track activity and progress. Wearable tech like Fitbit and Jawbone are more expensive, but incredibly convenient, since all you typically have to do is wear them to obtain mad data. Old-school clip-on pedometers are also an option ... until they fall off and get lost. Not that I know anything about that.