Life is an Act of Balance

Life is an Act of Balance is an exploration into how personal informatics can facilitate behaviour change, enabling people to feel like they have a more balanced life. Essentially, what are the possibilities when people are made more aware of their lifestyle patterns?

Due to an increased pace of life and personal competition with oneself to become ‘someone better’, people are continually busy, going from one task to the next. This has been heightened by a more prominent use of technology in our lives, resulting in lifestyle barriers (that used to exist) being broken; people can now work anywhere, contact anyone at a given time and achieve much more on the move.

The result of having this fast pace of life is that people become absorbed in ‘achieving more’ and detached from what their day-to-day life looks like and what brings them a real sense of enjoyment. Within their busy lives, people find it hard to prioritise when making decisions in their own life and would often like to be guided in some way. Some people use diaries and calendars to schedule ‘practical appointments’ but very rarely for personal activities, yet they are interested to understand what they spend their time on, especially for things they enjoy doing, but rarely have time to do. In order for people to have a balanced life on a bigger scale, they have to first reconnect to themselves, focusing on what they need to be content, rather than doing everything that is possible.

The outcome of this problem resulted in a new service called Echo. The service provides a platform for people to self reflect and become more aware of their lifestyle patterns, by helping them to pinpoint areas of their life that bring them personal enjoyment and supporting them to experience them more often. The service works by using GPS tracking and direct reporting (data input) through the users smart phone. It allows them to reconnect to what their day-to-day life looks like by building up a map of how they spend their time, with who and how happy they are.

The data that is tracked and recorded is then transformed into different visualisations that the person can interact with, reflect on and see opportunities for change in their behaviour. This tool for reflection aims to provide information that is actionable, helping people moderate their behaviour in a number of positive ways.