Here it is! The year long project I mentioned a few days ago: an infographic from 2013, depicting all my activities and movement throughout the 365 days. There’s no getting around the fact that I’m biased, but I think it’s spectacular.
Collecting the data this required was, at first, very odd. I wanted to do an infographic along the lines of the Feltron Report, but I was at a loss for what to quantify. I knew I wanted to preserve my friends’ privacy as well as some of my own, but I also wanted the final picture to be relatively thorough and, of course, accurate. At first it felt narcissistic and silly to make little ticks marks day in and day out to denote how many emails I received and sent, but I kept at it. (Yes, I kept these notes by hand and only entered them into a spreadsheet in early January. More about the emails in a moment.)
Sometimes there’s a lot of handwringing about how we document and quantify our lives in the digital age, but I have faith in the relative intractability of human nature, and the urge to recognize and make sense of your own behavior is centuries old, even if the methodologies change. I’m someone who loves words, so I can digest and make sense of my own life experiences by writing about them and then reading it back, mulling over choices, insights, impacts, etc. Diary-keeping is such an old pastime that no one fusses about it anymore, but it too could conceivably be criticized as self-absorbed and frivolous. To me, it makes sense that contemporary methods of interpreting one’s life through data would appeal to someone more number-prone. FitBits and Rescue Time and all the rest seem to me like diaries for the narrative disinclined.
It’s hard to describe what I felt upon seeing this final version in late January. Stylistically, aesthetically, I love it. But on a deeper level, as a true introvert*—meaning someone who generates energy by being in calm, quiet places alone and expends energy when being out in public, interacting with others, etc.—it was immensely gratifying to see that there were a few near 100 hour long weeks. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing if I’m really objectively busy or if I feel overwhelmed because of what a homebody I can be. Having this all in black and white, or rather pink and yellow and gray and white, helped me see it more clearly.
I sent and received a minuscule amount of emails compared to some of the people I know, but that’s a good thing. A higher volume of emails for me almost always means a higher volume of things to delete without response, so the lower the email influx, the better I can spend my time on other things. I considered that a success. It was a little demoralizing to see that I spent about as much time in salons and spas as I did on physical activity, because I’d prefer to be moving more than I would having my nails painted, but I suppose it’s a fair sacrifice to make to the gods of glamor.
I imagine no one will get more pleasure out of this than I do, but I hope you find it to be an item of interest. You can click on it to enlarge and study in more detail. And because it apparently needs clarification for some silly people, “mystery activities” refers to recreations along the lines of a delicious dinner or great show, meaning something semi-public like a spa or museum visit.
*I hate the notion that introverts are shy, anti-social, and awkward, with no charisma. Clearly, I have charisma out the wazoo!