Tracking things with Exist

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Like lots of people I’ve dabbled in step and fitness tracking for a while now, and one of my favourite tools to help me make sense of things is Exist.

Exist is a (non-free) web service which pulls togther various tracking apps, like step trackers, mood, smart scales, runkeeper, last.fm and weather data and then shows you everything on a cool dashboard. While I use the dashboard as the main feature, Exist goes a step further and actually tries to correlate your different sources of data in order to help you gain some knowledge from all your tracking.

The Dashboard

Exist’s dashboard is well designed and easy to read on various screen-sizes, here’s a screenshot:

exist dashboard

To view the value of each bar you just mouse-over it, and differing values are highlighted by changes in intensity, rather than colour, which is nice and pretty.

Mood Tracking

One of Exist’s killer features is mood tracking. Rather than just consuming outside sources of data, its mood tracking is built-in, and done via its mobile apps which pop up a notification at 9pm asking you to rate your day. Ratings are out of 5, and you can optionally add a sentence as an overview.

While it doesn’t sound like much, if I take a little time to think about my day, I usually find I’m much more likely to focus on all the good things that happened to me, and so end up with a decent mood score over the full day. Obviously this is highly subjective, but I think since I’ve been doing this my general mood has actually improved, which is quite an interesting result in itself!

While Exist’s correlations are one of its main wow factors they’re probably what I use least. That’s not really any fault of Exist’s because the cool graphs are figures can be really interesting. For example, there’s a graph of the average ‘global mood’, which clearly shows that people feel better during weekends, and there’s an interesting page showing my averages by day (I walk furthest on Wednesdays on average, and tweet most on Fridays).

Exist global mood

Overall

I’ve been a member of Exist since April 2014, and while I’m not a heavy user of the site I get a lot out of it when I get around to looking at it. For me, the killer features are the mobile apps and mood tracking I’d recommend taking a look if you’re similarly inclined to measure all the things!

One item on my ever-growing todo list is writing a Slogger plugin using the Exist API to pull my data into Day One automatically so this might be a topic I mention again in future.

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