Yesterday, I shared my goal with you regarding “rigorous tracking” in 2014, and I invited you to join me for the journey. In today’s post, I’ll share with you some of the tools I’m planning to use in 2014. In the comments below, please feel free to share the tools you’ve found to be useful in self-tracking.
The best tool is the one you use
Principle number one: the best tool is the one you use. If you have any internal resistance to tracking, perfectionism is a great way to keep yourself from diving in. Is it better to use computer spreadsheets? iPhone or Android apps? Paper (and pencil? or pen?)? Spiral bound or 3-ring? It doesn’t matter, and you may very well change directions mid-stream. The best system you can use is the one that works for you, period. Pick one and do it. If it’s the wrong one, you are free to change systems at any time.
With that said, I’ve got some tools that I either have used in the past or will use in 2014, and I’m happy to share them with you here. And again, I welcome anyone to share their tracking tools below in the comments.
- Underearners Anonymous is a group that helps people track use of their time in a really effective and compassionate way. The have a website, and one may find spreadsheets there as well as principles for how to work with one’s time (http://www.underearnersanonymous.org).
- FlyLady.net offers a binder system (at a cost) for tracking and organizing one’s household, finances, dietary and exercise habits.
- I use a few different resources for journaling guidance. Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way offers a system for journaling that is lovely and in-depth; I also use Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones to prompt my writing, and Rose Offner’s Journal to the Soul. These are all great prompts to get the pen (or keyboard) moving in the right direction.
- I also have a spiral bound art journal that I use to create graphic expressions of my emotional world. I have used Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Artist Within to help me find tools to express emotions, and I have used the services of Alchemy Art Labs here in Boulder (CO) to teach me and provide a safe place to do this work (https://www.facebook.com/alchemyartlabs).
- I found an app for my phone that I will use to track food, when I’m tracking that. It’s called MyFitnessPal, and it’s free. There are lots of these kinds of apps out there, so see which ones work with your technology and your needs.
- For my own personal expense tracking, I’m using https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.expensemanager&hl=en. It’s a free google app that works on my phone.
- Your bank may also have a tracking system. I like ours, but I am also tracking cash expenditures (which aren’t captured on our bank system) and business expenses, so this works for on-the-fly tracking.
What are your tools? Let’s hear about them!