Thursday, February 18, 2010

I tracked my happiness.

http://www.trackyourhappiness.org
You sign up, they send you a couple texts or emails (or twitters) every day, you record how happy you are and answer some other questions. After you've done 50, they stop, and you can look at your happiness report and see what makes you happy.

SUPER DISCLAIMERS: you can't actually find what makes you happy. At best you could find correlations. Also, 50 is a small amount of data points for some of these things (like "happiness by location"). And there's a little bit of sampling bias because you don't always respond exactly when you get the text (although you should).

All that said, here are some graphs I found not terribly surprising (the y-axis is always happiness):

Happiness by day of week:
Chart?chxl=0:|sun|mon|tue|wed|thu|fri|sat&cht=bvg&chs=310x200&chd=s:legcopr&chxr=1,0,100&chco=0088cc&chxs=0,666666,10|1,666666,10&chbh=30&chxt=x,y
I'm a little happier on weekends. And Thursdays.

Happiness vs. Productivity
Chart?cht=s&chs=310x200&chd=s:xwbiiaungootlyipt,4wtvljmhxsoinnsqi&chxr=0,0,100|1,0,100&chco=0088cc&chxs=0,666666,10|1,666666,10&chxt=x,y
Looks like a strong correlation! That sounds right, too. Whatever I'm doing, I like being productive.

Happiness vs. whether I want to and/or have to do what I'm doing:
Chart?chxl=0:|want+to|want+to|don't+want+to|don't+want+to|1:|don't+have+to|have+to|have+to|don't+have+to&cht=bvg&chs=310x200&chd=s:mpcb&chxr=2,0,100&chco=0088cc&chxs=0,666666,10|1,666666,10|2,666666,10&chbh=51&chxt=x,x,y
Surprise! I like doing things I want to do. I don't like doing things I don't want to do. Whether I have to do it doesn't really make a difference.

Okay, those were not super exciting. Here are some that are interesting, though:

Happiness vs. focus
Chart?cht=s&chs=310x200&chd=s:iuypjvmrusqnqydzesljxtjxezvo,zmtnvxrjmmwvhjskqinqkqhotnnq&chxr=0,0,100|1,0,100&chco=0088cc&chxs=0,666666,10|1,666666,10&chxt=x,y
I would have thought that focus would make me happier, but I guess not! How do I explain this? Maybe I don't know what focus really is. When I think I'm focusing, I'm not reporting it right. I don't actually get into deep focus much.

Happiness vs. hours of sleep:
Chart?cht=s&chs=310x200&chd=s:ww6wtwwwx__s_a__n_,zpbbhltrskesjlbyhi&chxr=0,0,20
Doesn't seem to matter. (also apparently I slept for 20 hours one day. data entry!) However:

Happiness vs. sleep quality:
Chart?cht=s&chs=310x200&chd=s:iyperttskzjxeyouwq,zpbbhltrskesjlbyhi&chxr=0,0,100|1,0,100&chco=0088cc&chxs=0,666666,10|1,666666,10&chxt=x,y
Seems to have a slight positive correlation. Although I could just be imagining things, or it's not statistically significant, or happiness causes good sleep instead of vice versa, or any number of things.

Anyway, this is the coolest thing I've seen on the internet in a while! I've often found myself wanting something like this, and luckily, Matt Killingsworth and Visnu Pitiyanuvath are making it happen! Thanks much to them.

Other things on the internet that have intrigued, annoyed, fascinated, elated, bothered, or bamboozled me:

Networking feels icky. It feels like you're using some mind games (like "people like you better if they meet you in person" or whatever) to get ahead. I don't want to think about "how this relationship will benefit me" with people. It just immediately feels slimy. Maybe there's nothing really wrong with it; we're all doing it at some level, even if it's just "this relationship will benefit me because I'll have a new friend." I'll withhold judgment for now, especially because networking is kinda fun when it works.

Amen. Give me real prices all day long. If poor people can't afford to live, we should fight poverty, not give everyone artificially cheap prices now at the expense of the future.

I dig Umair Haque. I dig Google. This is often difficult, because he takes time out of his column to give Google a light bashing every so often. His is one of the "Google used to be good but they're slacking" voices, which I disagree with, but I'm glad it's out there to keep up honest. Anyway, Google Buzz. I think I actually like it, because if I can start reading that instead of Twitter, then my life is a little simpler. I'm not sure though; it might be a complication. If I can read that instead of Facebook, my life is a lot simpler! And I do enjoy the map view.

Hot cha! I was going to blog this article about how travelers pick tomato juice more often, but it wasn't enough for a full post; soon enough, this article about how travelers pick ginger ale more often came along. The tomato juice is particularly uncanny: I used to do that myself, and I did notice other people picked it a lot too. Ginger ale was a close second. In my old age, I've switched to sparkling water. I like to drink something unusual; it makes the flight more of an occasion. Because no matter where I'm going, or how tired I am, or if the guy next to me asks to use my legroom to store his suitcase (true story), I'm still flying through the air. Incredibly.