Meet Ernesto Ramirez, Ph.D student in public health, Quantified Self organizer, and disliker of to-do lists. Ernesto uses iDoneThis to feel great about what he gets done every day, to motivate himself to do more, and to create a record of his life. He made the following word cloud to show his last 62 days on iDoneThis. Ernesto’s an inspiration to us at iDoneThis, too — we’re working on giving everyone on iDoneThis his or her own individual word cloud. (Look out for it soon!)
Ernesto Ramirez is a doctoral student studying Public Health at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. He is interested in using technology to help people live a life of wellness. He’s getting married next year and is really excited about that too.
Location: Sunny San Diego, CA
How do you use iDoneThis?
I use iDoneThis to help me realize that I’ve been productive during the day and to reflect on what I’ve done. Sometimes this means a lot of work and school related tasks, but other times it is very social as you can see by how big “dinner” is in the above picture. I’ve never been good at handling “To Do” lists because of the nature of my work and personality.
As a grad student I am constantly being asked to take on additional tasks and duties. I’m also a social person who thrives in collaborative environments so I am constantly seeking conversations and collaborations. These behaviors never fit into a structured model of task completion so “To Do” lists always had an inherent failure trap built in. By using iDoneThis I’ve been able to reverse that failure model with a very positive accomplishment model. The positive feelings I get when type those emails at the end of the day are probably the number one reason I use iDoneThis. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t check off everything on today’s “To Do” list because look at all those amazing things that I did during the day!
I also use it as motivator of sorts. As someone who studies behavioral science I am deeply aware of the power of momentum. Seeing the streak number go up every day is a pretty powerful motivator. Plus, having a vague idea of the number of things that I’ve done over the past few days from when I periodically look at the website helps me to try and input all the things that I think are important for future reflection.
Lastly, sometimes I’m not sure why I use it. I’m one of those weird people that tries new things without an inherent purpose. I find value in exploration and knowledge creation. I imagine one day once’ I’ve built up enough things that I’ve done that I’ll through it into a contextual language processor and see what comes out.
You were an organizer of the Quantified Self Conference 2011. What did you learn?
I actually wrote a blog post the detailed my take-aways from the Quantified Self Conference here.
Briefly here are the big things I took away.
1) Building a environment that supports and encourages positivity is essential for succes. Never have I been to a conference, and I’ve been to a lot, where so many people were so positive. It made the entire event enjoyable and I believe that positivity helped to foster the intellectual sharing that is crucial for growing the Quantified Self movement.
2) Helping people should be the number one priority. Sure, doing cool research is fun, but Users want systems that let them use them as they want so that they can make decisions and changes as they see it. It is about building a user experience on top of a device platform that empowers users - that helps them take control of their lives and make real change.
How did you build your treadmill desk?
The ActiveDesk was built over many years and gallons of blood, sweat and tears. Well, not really. It was actually pretty easy.
I found a used treadmill on craigslist for $100 and bought a height adjustable desk from IKEA. From there it was just some simple work to disassemble the control panel, hacksaw the support posts, roll the treadmill under the desk and reattach the control panel to the desk. I’ll be the first to admit that this is only one way to hack together your own treadmill desk, but it’s worked for me for 2.5 years, 600+ miles, and over 62,000 calories burned while working.