A while back I wrote a script to analyze our GnuCash account. A few months ago, I added a quick little feature to predict how much money we’re going to spend this month – basically just taking the existing values and extrapolating to the end of the month, disregarding stuff that is largely the same like the mortgage payment and bills. So every time I run the script I get an updated projection of how much money we’ll spend this month.
For something so simple, it’s surprising how it’s changed my behavior. I’m very much more conscious about spending money now, and last month we spent the least amount we have in a while. Of course, that’s just one data point. It’s similar as the idea behind the Google PowerMeter – if you can measure something well you’re more likely to think about it more and conserve when you can.
In a similar vein, the Wall Street Journal writes about not getting enough sleep and a device called the Zeo which tells you how well you slept the next morning. Again, the idea is that you can try out different things (cutting out caffeine longer before bedtime, etc.) and see how they affect your sleep patterns. Cool stuff! Yet another study shows that sleep is important and helps you learn.