Ticha Sethapakdi

17 Jan 2014

AskMeEvery is a very simple app that asks the user a question every day through email or text-messaging and plots their responses on a graph. What’s particularly nice about this app is its flexibility, as it allows the user to customize their own questions. I decided to use AskMeEvery as a means for me to monitor my stress / happiness level, so I’m having it ask me whether I had a good day every evening.

Sleep Cycle is an iPhone app that serves as both an alarm clock and a sleep monitor–what’s interesting is that it uses the accelerometer in the iPhone to monitor the user’s movement and determine which sleep phase they are in, which allows the app to wake the user up at their lightest sleep phase. In addition, the app keeps track of the user’s sleep quality, and other data such as the effect of eating / stress on sleep quality is monitored and graphed.

People often get so entangled in their busy lives that they forget to maintain a healthy lifestyle–in particular, their work schedule prevents them from getting sufficient sleep each night. As someone who neither sleeps very well nor gets enough sleep per night, I hope Sleep Cycle will allow me to better understand how much damage I am doing to my body (!!?) and how my daily activities can either benefit or adversely affect my sleep quality.

RescueTime is an app that monitors your time spent on websites / applications and keeps a log of how you spend your time on the computer. The user’s activities are sorted into a number of different categories including Business, Shopping, Reference & Learning, and Software Development and the user can view a summary of how much time they have spent on each on their dashboard. I think what’s effective about RescueTime is that it creates self-awareness by explicitly logging the user’s activities on the computer and displaying it for the user to see. As it is easy to lose track of time in the bustle of the day, people often forget how they spend it. Electronic devices such as laptops almost work like double-edged swords, because while they allow people to get work done more efficiently, they are also equipped with a wealth of distractions that can break an effective workflow. I myself can be an avid procrastinator even during the times I need to stay focused the most. At the same time, sometimes I underestimate my productivity and assume I had not been able to make good use of my time when in reality I was able to get a lot of tasks done. By logging my activity on my laptop RescueTime will allow me to see a better picture of how I spend my time–whether it will be to my delight or my dismay.