Review: Jawbone UP after one month

Jawbone UP in action

Image by alexhung via Flickr

Jawbone UP is the latest in fitness and sleep monitoring technology.  It’s an inconspicuous band worn around the wrist that is both comfortable and elegant.  I like that it is waterproof and can be worn even into the shower.

The feature that I love about Jawbone UP is that it monitors my sleep patterns and wakes me within a timeframe that is least disruptive to my light/heavy sleep cycles.  However, for the snooze-button-hitting person, this device is easily circumvented with a simple button press.  There’s no snooze-button equivalent, so the gentle waker is not always effective at waking a heavy sleeper.

Jawbone’s advice is to set the band into Sleep mode before bed, but I’ve found that the device will simple “know” that you are sleeping and then wake you up in the designated time frame.  It seems the device is sensitive enough to distinguish between not being worn and the wearer being asleep.  You can also set the days of the week you’d like to be woken up and the latest time you’d like that to occur.

The other mode, fitness mode, can also be set to track time at the gym.  Like sleep mode, I am finding this to be a bit redundant, except perhaps to track specific workout progresses over time in the iphone app.  

The iphone app that comes with this device is fairly low-tech considering how seemingly high-tech the Jawbone UP device is.  There some statistics include “steps made”, calorie counts, and sleep quality.  There’s no other way to drill down on statistics or visualize beyond the limited scope of the app.  There is also a fully featured social aspect of the device that I’m simply ignoring.  This app could use a lot more work for the info-geek!

I haven’t had any hardware problems with the device as indicated by some other reviewers.  I do find myself having to charge the device about once a week.  

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How Lazymeter enables getting stuff done

Lazymeter is at first glance a very simple task tracking tool that has some bells and whistles.  So what is the benefit of using Lazymeter over just notepad or the spartan To-Do list built into Gmail?  

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I find that I have many non-trivial, unwieldy goals and similar goals being added every few days, so it’s difficult to track and prioritize goals in a flattened list.  Lazymeter gives me just the few extra features I need, so that task management does give me better efficiency rather than becoming a needless bureacracy in itself.  

There are three task breakdowns, which I have relabelled for myself as: do it now (the play list), do it later (pause list), and too-big-to-swallow goals (stopped list).

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So for example, I’ll put a bigger task like “learn arbitrary programming language” in the stop list, then break it down into consumable chunks for the appropriate play and pause lists.   I’ve especially noticed the benefits of this type of tracking when my goals change or when I need to make some diversion to fill a knowledge/skill gap.  Thus, I no longer feel as if I am potentially abandoning a larger goal with some unforseen context switch.  Rather, I’ve tracked the chunks I’ve accomplished and simply deferred tasks later between pause and stop lists.

Then Lazymeter also feeds my infographic desires, by giving me some indication on how well I’m doing according to my plans.  So you can see that I tend to be overly ambitious compared to what I can actually accomplish.  So Lazymeter might be for you if you are the over-ambitious, time-constrained person who needs some help getting things into bite-size pieces.

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