Archive for the ‘visualization’ Category

What am I doing with my life? Track yourself for a week and find out

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

“We manage what we measure”… so goes the old saying. Here is a new tool to measure how you spend your time.

The problem

For months I have felt like I have been too busy to spend time on the things I really care about. A lot of ideas seem to have been permanently “on hold” – my todo lists have seemingly been continually growing, and for months I have been feeling overwhelmed and time poor.

Sound familiar?

A solution

I decided to do some real measuring and find out what was consuming my time. This came about after reading an interesting article over at Quantified Self about how shocked and surprised students were after tracking their hourly activities for a week.

The idea was to track down where all that time goes and then to decide if these various endeavours were worth that kind of commitment. This would also be an opportunity to compare the reality to how I imagined I was spending my life.

Hence, Supernifty’s Hourly Tracker was born. This online tool provides an easy way to track what you do each hour of the day for a week.

You can add any activity you want to track. As you can see from the image, you get a decent overview of where the time goes, including some interesting analysis on the right.

If you track yourself for more than a week, there is Historical Analysis.

Check out an overall picture of how you are spending your time, or focus on a particular activity:


It’s been an eye-opening experience – I’d recommend everyone try tracking their time for at least one full week. Some things I learnt:


First of all, it’s clear why many people try to find ways of living with less sleep – for instance the polyphasic movement – sleep takes up a huge chunk of anyone’s life, dwarfing all other activities.

It’s also clear why I often feel tired – I don’t get enough sleep. Using this tool enabled me to confirm this suspicion.

More time conscious

As with other tracking efforts – such as taking a photo of everything you eat – the act of recording makes you more conscious of how you spend your time. If I start wasting time on the internet I am reminded that I will be recording this.

I’ve become much more aware of wasteful activities.


Finally, I discovered the cause of my constant feeling of too much to do: mornings. I’d spend mornings catching up on email, reading blogs and researching random items of interest – generally procastinating – before finally getting stuck into work. This would set the scene for a stressful remaining day.

By the end of the day, I’d still feel that I needed to get more work done. I’d have a late night and then be tired in the morning, thus repeating the cycle.

Using this tool I have learnt that I need to focus on having a productive morning.

What’s next?

Ideas for improvements are welcomed – please get in touch! Some things that are in the pipeline:

  • Recommendations – for example, exercising every day or getting more sleep
  • Daily Goals – a daily goal tracker is at the bottom of the page. It’s functional but the analysis is still in development


Try tracking your time, just for a week. I gained significant insights and confirmed things that previously were vague suspicions.

Making a decision – flowchart

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not you should do something, Supernifty’s new “Should I do it?” flowchart can help you out with many of life’s conundrums.

First, think of something that you are wondering whether or not you should do. For instance, accepting a new job offer. Then, follow the flowchart below.

Should I do it? Decision flowchart

Of course, sometimes making the decision is the easy part – especially now that you have this simple to follow flowchart.

Often it’s actually following through on your decision that is the challenge.

Unchained Melody – the best song of all time?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

The radio station Magic recently announced the top 500 songs of all time, as voted by its listeners.

Supernifty has generated a handy visualization so you can easily see the entire list, along with the movers and shakers compared to the last time the survey was held in 2010.

There are unsurprising movers – e.g. Whitney Houston.

There are songs that should have been there all along e.g. Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley and Hotel California by The Eagles.

Finally, there are the inexplicables – e.g. Mascara, by John Stephan (?!)

Check out which singer has the most entries, and which decade has produced the most hits.

Although the results are very much a reflection of who listens to Magic, it’s pretty fun and interesting to play with – check out Magic’s top 500 songs of all time.

Speed Scrabble – most popular words

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

We did some analysis on our Speed Scrabble players to find out the 80 most popular words used in games:

Speed Scrabble popular words

QI is easily the number 1 word, with AI and IN second and third. I guess most people know that trick when you get stuck with a Q without a U.

2-letter words dominate the list, taking the top 11 spots, and 66% of the top 80.

3-letter words round out the list, with the first 4-letter word, RAIN, coming in at 112th.

It’s a little surprising, but understandable given that Speed Scrabble focusses on speed.

Some users have commented on the unlikely sounding 2-letter words, doubting whether they are really words, so with the help of Wordnik, we have compiled a list of definitions of some of the more obscure words:

  • qi: The fundamental life-force or energy.
  • ai: See sloth.
  • en: The letter n.
  • aa: Lava having a rough surface.
  • ae: Chiefly Scots One.
  • un: One.
  • er: Used to express hesitation or uncertainty.
  • id: In Freudian theory, the division of the psyche that is totally unconscious.
  • oi: Said to get someone’s attention.
  • qat: khat
  • ye: Archaic “The”.
  • ad: An advertisement.
  • lo: Used to attract attention or to show surprise.
  • re: Music – The second tone of the diatonic scale in solfeggio.
  • et: and
  • jo: Scots Sweetheart; dear.
  • oe: A small island.
  • el: The letter l.
  • za: Slang – Pizza.
  • ar: The letter r.
  • la: Music – The sixth tone of the diatonic scale in solfeggio.
  • ti: Music – The seventh tone in the diatonic scale in solfeggio.
  • li: A traditional Chinese measure of distance, today standardized at 500 meters (547 yards).
  • pi: The 16th letter of the Greek alphabet.
  • bi: A bisexual person.
  • yo: Slang – Used as a greeting or to attract someone’s attention.
  • joe: Informal – Brewed coffee.
  • ain: Scots Own.
  • yen: A strong desire or inclination; a yearning or craving.
  • fa: Music – The fourth tone of the diatonic scale in solfeggio.
  • ne: Not.

So now you know: yes, they really are words.

If you’ve not played Speed Scrabble, try it out. It’s fun, fast and challenging. And occasionally educational.

Smartphone Market Penetration

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Some stats from ComScore illustrate the state of the mobile market. This post provides some simple charts of the data.

What’s the breakdown of smartphone market share?

Smartphone Market Share January 2010

Clearly BlackBerry are doing incredibly well, covering almost half the market.

Which platform’s been growing the most over the last 3 months?

Smartphone Growth (Millions) from October 2009 to January 2010

Somewhat surprisingly, BlackBerry continue to consolidate their position, taking most of the new entrants to the market.

Interestingly, in the original statistics, Google appear to be doing the best, and Microsoft the worst. However, in terms of actual numbers, BlackBerry continue to be number 1 for growth, with Microsoft and Palm equal losers.

These stats are based on the US market. Visit ComScore for the original figures.

Top 500 songs of all time – visualized

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

A radio station recently ran a survey asking listeners vote for their favourite songs, the result being a 500 song countdown of the “greatest songs of all time”.

Supernifty has produced a handy tool for you to play with the results, with a simple search function, charts of the most popular artists, and a breakdown by decade of the greatest songs.

Top songs categorized by decade

Can you guess who the most popular artist is? Wondering if your favourite made it? Check it out.

Although the results are in many ways a reflection of the listeners’ demographic, it’s still pretty fun to play with.

See the top 500 songs of all time.