Frequently Asked Questions
- Why would I use this?
This is an app to use for personal analytics - that is, to know yourself better by tracking and reflecting on your daily activities. There is a strong basis of research (and hundreds of years of history) asserting that being mindful of your daily activities can make you happier, healthier and more productive.
First let's talk about "the progress principle." This principle states that daily progress is the most important driver of overall work satisfaction, and setbacks (the opposite of progress) are the most important impediment to work satisfaction.
Teresa Amabile from Harvard Business School and her colleague Steven Kramer discovered the progress principle. They tracked workers and their happiness at work. Their findings were sensible yet surprising. Amabile and Kramer write this in their book "The Progress Principle": "This is one of the most important findings of our entire study: that making headway on meaningful work brightens inner work life and boosts long-term performance."
- What does "What one thing happened to day that you'll remember most?" mean? Why do you ask that question?
"What one thing happened...?" is intended to have you reflect on the past day and focus on one event that is most memorable. (It's not important to analyze why that event comes to mind rather than others.) Your decision about what is most important, each day, focuses your reflection each day on something concrete, as opposed to more vague feelings and perceptions. That helps when answering the classifying questions (see next FAQ).
- Why do I have to answer the multiple-choice questions after doing my journal entry?
The questions allow the system to "tag" each entry with data that you can search and sort on when you want to reflect on your activities. For example, if you want to see all the days when you had An Accomplishment, you can easily find those by sorting on the "Description" field (click the arrow next to "Description" at the top of the View Events page) and paging down till you find the group of entries the Description for which is "An Accomplishment." Or, if you'd like to see all the things that "Never Happened Before," sort on the "Frequency" field.
- How do I use all the stuff I enter?
That is the fun part. First, there are a set of graphs and tables (under the Lab menu) that help you see how you are doing at a glance. You will need to do a good month of entries to have enough data for meaningful results, but after that the data will build and build, allowing you to get more insight and data from your entries.
Here's one approach. Every Friday, as you are "closing the books" on the workweek, open the Lab tab and take a look at the information there. What does the ratio of Accomplishments to Setbacks look like? If there is less than a 2-to-1 ratio of Accomplishments to Setbacks, it is a signal you may be getting frustrated and need to make a change in your work or your outlook. If that ratio is above 2-to-1, you are likely feeling good about things. (Is that the case?)
then, once a quarter, immerse yourself in the detailed entries. Sort the entries and look specifically at Mistakes. What went wrong? Do those things fit a pattern of a weakness? If so, consider setting an action item to work on that weakness.
Also during the quarterly reflection, look at Grateful Fors. This will help you understand what you value and what makes you happy (other than Accomplishments!).
Finally, at the end of the year, take a look through the prior 12 months. Look especially for the Accomplishments - these will be the raw material for your self-evaluation. You will find that you have important accomplishments that you have forgotten about over the course of the year. Include these in your self-eval and take credit for all you've done!
- Does it work on a mobile phone?
Yes it does! Access it through your phone (or tablet) browser, and it will resize. I use mobile entry at least 40% of the time.
- How do I set my time zone?
To set your time zone, go to Preferences, enter your location, and we will figure out your time zone. The default time zone is US Eastern time.
- How do I export my data?
Follow this link (it's found by clicking the down arrow in the userid box in the upper right corner of the screen). The data will be in tab-delimited form. To access it in Excel, open a new worksheet, then choose File/Import from older versions or Data/From Text in newer versions.
- I don't like the date format you use. How do I change it?
To change the date display format, go to Preferences, then click in the Date Format text box. Choose your preferred format, then hit Save.
- What about security?
The system is secured using userid and password, and the transmissions between your browser and the database are encrypted. At present, if someone were able to hack into the database, they could view the entries and user names associated.
Given that, your best security is to create an online identify for your journaling activities. Unlike Facebook, we don't care who you really are. We recommend choosing a user name that is not your real name, and using an email address that also doesn't include your real name. That way, if anyone were to hack into the database and read the entries, they couldn't connect them to you.
- Why is the Feedback page always there? When should I fill it in?
We are always interested in hearing from you... if you are new to the site, or have been using it for a while, or have something you'd like to share with us. If you're not ready to share anything, just ignore the form. It'll still be there when you're ready.
- When will you contact me?
We keep two mailing lists - the Daily Reminder and one for Site News. The Daily Reminder comes out each weekday. We use Site News much more infrequently - for new release announcements, important updates, etc. If you don't want the Daily Reminder, simply hit the "Remove Me From This List" button the next time you receive one. You will still be on the Site News list. If you'd prefer us never contact you again, you can unsubscribe from the next Site News email, or contact us at email@example.com.
- How can we reach you?
Email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org