The point of October’s life challenge was to take a critical look at my life outside of work. Originally I had planned on taking pictures every hour throughout the day but I quickly realized that taking pictures at my work is actually illegal. So in an attempt to avoid imprisonment or a large fine, I decided to look at my life after work and on the weekends. Plus, work pictures would be pretty boring anyway; laptop, laptop, laptop, bathroom, laptop, etc.
I took a total of 336 pictures throughout October where each day landed somewhere between 8 and 15 pictures depending on whether or not it was a weekday or weekend and whether nor not I went to bed early, took a nap, or completely missed an alarm to take a picture. For the randomized portion, I spent a good deal of September looking around for Android app developers or friends who were up to the challenge. Unable to find anything in time I was able to find an app on the Android Market for diabetic patients who were looking to randomize their insulin shots. Perfect! Thank god for smartphone savvy diabetics. The app worked exactly as I wanted; it would randomly alarm a set number of times between two time points (5pm and 11pm on weeknights and then from when I woke up to when I went to sleep on weekends).
After finishing on the 31st, I broke these pictures out into various themes that seemed important and calculated percentages; inside/outside, in my apartment, in Sarah’s apartment, with friends, with Sarah, in transit, physically/intellectually stimulating, and on my laptop. I rarely watch t.v. (I admit that this probably makes me a bad Boston sports fan) so I didn’t feel like pictures in front of the t.v. was a relevant metric. Here’s the break-down:
*Many of the photos fell under several categories at once so of course the sum of this list won’t add up to 100%. Also, you would think that inside + outside should add up to 100% but I didn’t count transit (car/bus/train) or walking through buildings as being “inside”, I counted inside as really hanging out and spending time inside of a building.
|Activity||# of Pictures||% of Total Pictures|
|In My Apartment||61||18%|
|On My Laptop||40||12%|
|In Sarah’s Apartment||39||12%|
These findings were actually quite interesting. I knew that I rarely spent any time hanging out in my apartment but this analysis showed that less than 1/5th of my pictures took place inside of my apartment. I generally go home to sleep and not much else so I’m not surprised, I just didn’t think it was as low as 18%. Also it was interesting to see that my pictures in transit (on the train, bus, car, etc) outnumbered the pictures in my apartment by 3%. I’m constantly going to and from places, which is great because it gives me a chance to read, people-watch, and it generally means I’m going to do something fun besides sit around at my apartment watching YouTube and drinking beers.
The winning category was inside pictures coming in at 44% of my pictures. This might be a bit skewed due to the fact this month was rainy as hell and that I spent a few days home sick from work. Either way it was reasonably close to how much time I spent outside, 29%. I was glad to see that roughly 1/3rd of my pictures were taken outside. This is mostly due to trying to finish my 48 peaks this month. Outside pictures wouldn’t have been drastically less than 1/3rd of my total pictures but trying to complete this goal definitely helped keep my outside life thriving.
Another important metric was to see how much time I was spending with Sarah vs my friends. That’s something I’ve always noticed with my friends who are in relationships, they tend to disappear off the face of the earth when they start dating someone. I’m lucky that my friends and my girlfriend intersect pretty well and that I have a girlfriend who is down to adventure all the time. So I don’t really have to make that choice between do I hang out with my girlfriend, or do I go out and have fun adventuring? They generally coincide. I found that 23% of my pictures were with Sarah and 32% of my pictures were taken with friends. This 32% would be drastically lower if I lived in a studio apartment. Having friends as roommates is awesome, I’m not sure what I would do with myself if I lived alone.
Lastly, to wrap up, I spent about 1/4th of my pictures doing something physically active. This has always been important in my life so I’m glad to see this experiment reinforcing that. I spent about half that amount of time on my laptop (12%) mostly due to this blog. Without the blog that probably would have dropped by half or more. 10% of my pictures involved me doing something intellectually stimulating. In most instances this was reading while in transit, I didn’t count working on my blog as intellectually stimulating but one could definitely make a case for it. Then there were 12% of my pictures where I was at Sarah’s apartment hanging out. I spend a decent amount of time over there but I spend significantly more time at my own place, being outside, being physically active, being with friends, etc.
So from this analysis I think it’s pretty safe to say I have a fairly balanced lifestyle with an emphasis on fitness, being outdoors, and spending time with friends, often all of these coincide.
Here are a handful of my favorite photos of the month: