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Measuring your year – data insight in action

More data, more analysis = better understanding and decision making.

If it works for the way organisations operate, why can’t it work for ‘Brand You’. or in this case, ‘Brand Me’ (Alex)?

Yep, putting my professional money where my professional mouth is, I’ve decided to share my year of life data (2015). There’s a whole range of services I’ve used to either live my life digitally, or track my offline life – a full list at the foot of this post.

Why bother? Well, who doesn’t want to live a better, healthier, more productive life? In what we do, and specifically the macro trends, we can identify patterns and opportunities: things which work well and we can do more of, and things which we should reduce or eliminate.

Why share it? Because at OneFifty we believe better insights into human behaviour allows better outcomes for all – organisations, customers, stakeholders. This is a microcosm of that. Telling that story is sometimes easier through personal experience than abstract or more technical discussion around social data. But also, because it engenders a level of transparency and therefore accountability on a personal level. If people know you’re doing something, and ask about it, you’re more likely to follow through on it.

What did I track? The data broadly covers six areas: my communication, content I consumed and created, nutrition, exercise, music, and how I spent my time. The latter is probably the most useful to track – I was inspired by Nicholas Felton’s annual life reports and used his Reporter app to achieve this. My life tracking stops way short of his, but he represents the high water mark of this space. One of the main benefits is adjusting your sense of how and with whom you spend your time, compared to the unarguable reality the data shows.

What did it show?

Selected ‘highlights’:

  1. A third (34%) of my waking time is spent working

    1. More of my time was spent watching TV and drinking than I’d like, whilst reading and exercising were lower than I’d hope.

    2. I send one email for every 6 mails I received, and read 2.5 of those.

  2. I get through 165,000 pieces of content in the year, which is the same as 460 pieces of online content a day, spending 3.3 hours per day in total, and 26 seconds per item (clearly not everything is read in full…).

    1. I spend most time with my wife, followed by being by myself (i.e. without anyone I know, rather than in isolation!), my business partner, and then the more exuberant of my cats. Overall a satisfactory mix…

  3. I exercised 217 times, with two thirds being running, rowing 10% of the time, and lifting weights once a week (typically).

  4. My happiness doesn’t correlate to how hard I work, but to how well I look after myself whilst working hard (being outdoors, exercising, eating well)

What will I do differently in 2016?

Well, there are a few things which are fairly apparent from 2015’s data, which I should continue:

  1. I do a pretty reasonable amount of exercise. It’s a lot less than I’ve done in the past, but a medically responsible amount. The happiest months of the year also correlated to those I exercised the most. (Although correlation and causation are not identical: less busy months also saw more exercise)

  2. Reading more = more knowledge. I’m pretty effective at getting through a lot of info, daily, which I want to continue. That’s both digital content (blogs etc) but also books. One of the ‘benefits’ of 3 hours a day commuting on trains…

  3. Continuing my eclectic music habits. Seriously: variety is the spice of life.

  4. My overall alcohol consumption sits round about the recommended weekly amount (2015 figures) – although i could lower it – there are c.5 days a week on which I drink, albeit very modestly. That could drop.

And some which I should, or want to, change:

  1. I’ve recently had a baby (well my wife did the work, but you know what I mean), and run a business. I need to use time more effectively. “Baby care” was 12th on my list of how I spent my time, and I only had 5 weeks of the year at that one… So, given working less isn’t an option, I need to be a) more productive when working, and b) cut the TV & drinking time in favour of ‘baby care’.

  2. Continue to reduce the amount of email in my life. We use Slack, which helps a lot. But there’s more to be done. If I’m not even opening two thirds of messages, there’s something wrong, for everyone.

  3. Less carbs. My absolute protein/carb/fat levels are OK – I eat enough of all of them, and absolute calories are fine (+100 on what I need per day to maintain weight, but exercise offsets this), but as a relative amount, carbs are 20% higher than I’d ideally have them. The easiest way to improve this is taking my own food to work – I don’t eat meat, and shop-bought non meat options tend to be carb/fat heavy, without sufficient non-animal protein.

  4. Use Twitter more effectively. Refine the accounts I follow, and proactively engage more. The months I used Twitter most intensively I derived a whole lot more value. It remains the most powerful social media platform for digital marketing insight, in my opinion.

Note: if you’re tempted to do any of this, a) do it! but b) do it over an extended period – I see reasonable amounts of variance month-to-month.


  1. Reporter app

  2. Spotify Year In Review

  3. My Fitness Pal

  4. Strava

  5. Feedly

  6. Twitter analytics

  7. Gmail 

  8. NHS Unit tracker app

The stats in detail


  1. Emails read: 59,900

  2. Emails sent: 9,750

  3. Emails sent vs received ratio: 1:6

  4. Emails deleted without opening: c.35000

  5. Emails sent vs received & read ratio 1: 2.5

  6. My ACTUAL Twitter reach: 297,900


  1. Content I created: 1222

  2. Content I consumed: 165,888 or 460 p/d

  3. 34 books

  4. Hours spent consuming content: 1210 or 3.3 hrs p/d

  5. 26 seconds per item consumed


  1. How time was spent:

  2. Time spent not working 66%

  3. Time spent working: 34%

  4. Listening

  5. Talking

  6. The internet

  7. watching TV

  8. Travelling

  9. Email

  10. Drinking

  11. Meetings

  12. Eating

  13. Reading

  14. Exercise

  15. People I’ve spent time with:

  16. My wife

  17. No-one I know

  18. My business partner

  19. The friendlier of my cats

  20. A former colleague

  21. The less friendly of my cats

  22. My newborn son (He was only born in late November)

  23. A former colleague

  24. My parents


  1. Calories consumed:1,069,450

  2. Avg per day: 2930

  3. Protein: 13%

  4. Carbohydrate: 58%

  5. Fat:29%

  6. Highest net calories consumption day: Friday

  7. Lowest net calorie consumption day: Tuesday


  1. 217 exercise sessions

  2. 144 running

  3. 23 rowing

  4. 50 weight lifting/core strength

  5. Distance run: 668 miles

  6. Time spent exercising: 89+15+33= 137hrs or 23 minute p/d


  1. Hours spent listening: 37000 minutes / 26 days (11% more than 2014)

  2. Most popular genres: Country / pop / EDM

  3. Most popular artists:

  4. Luke Bryan

  5. Weezer

  6. Florida Georgia Line

  7. Kanye West

  8. Most popular songs:

  9. Kygo, Firestone

  10. Drake, Forever

  11. Porter Robinson, Language

  12. Lilley Wood &Robin Schulz, Prayer In C

  13. Carley Rae Jepsen, I really like you


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