Over the past week or so, I’ve begun experimenting with using different nootropics, and as I start to test out how different things (potentially) impact my productivity, mood, cognitive functioning, ADD, and sleep, it’s been important to track both objective and subjective data relating to such effects.
I’m sure plenty of readers are wondering exactly how to design self-experiments with nootropics and track this data for themselves, so without further ado, here are each of the tools and data points I’m using:
Subjective measurements of mood and productivity – Call them flawed (it says “subjective” in the name), but there’s always a place for your own internalized ratings of how you feel and how productive you’re being. Especially with mood, where there isn’t a good way to objectively measure, sometimes this data can be very important. For my simple first experiment, I’m just jotting down numbers on a scale of 1-5 to measure each.
Computer-usage productivity- seeing as I spent an overwhelming majority of my day on my computer, measuring how productive I am there is a very solid indicator of my overall productivity for the day. Besides, most of my distractions are on the computer anyways, and most of the time that I spent away from the laptop IS productive. As I’ve mentioned before, I use RescueTime to automate this tracking for me- it’s an amazing tool. I simply take the percentage scores that it gives me each day and use it as a data point.
Cognitive functioning- There are a number of great brain-training style tests/programs/websites that you can use to measure your cognitive functioning (basically, like your brain’s speed, accuracy, memory capacity, etc.). Call me crazy, but I use a VERY old piece of Windows software for cognitive functioning tests- it’s called THINKfast, and honestly the only info I can find anywhere about it online is on this Pirate Bay torrent.
ADD test battery scores- Using a much NEWER technology for this one, I like to keep track of how well I score on a battery of tests design to measure ADD effects that I found on Quantified-Mind.com. It’s a great website with a large variety of tests for many different purposes, and you can easily export your scores after every day and use them as yet another data point.
Sleep quality- Because I never had the foresight to buy a Zeo before they were wiped off the face of the planet by the economics gods, and I don’t feel like dropping $80 on a wrist device to track my sleep yet, I use the Sleep Cycle iPhone app to track my sleep, which uses the accelerometer in my 5S to track where I am in my sleep cycle. The perfect data point it gives me is a percentage score of my sleep efficiency every night. I do have a few doubts about this data point though, and to keep an eye on it I’m also keeping subjective scores of my sleeping experiences to compare them against.
So that’s about it for data points! I’m about to start taking some statistics courses online to help me interpret all the data I’m collecting, and I can write more about what nootropics specifically I’m working with in the future. Any ideas/suggestions? Write em in the comments.