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When Tracking Makes Sense

April 14, 2019

Before my recent efforts to be more mindful of how I used technology, I was quite proud of the streak I had with meditating daily. I had convinced myself that meditating daily was a good thing, which I still believe. But somewhere along the way, I’d actually added a caveat to that. Meditating daily was only good if it was tracked in my Calm app. If the session was logged there, I was meditating. If it wasn’t, then the meditation never happened.

This worked well enough until I began leaving my phone across the room in the evening. Preparing for bed had become the time I’d listen to a meditation. Suddenly, it wasn’t convenient. I wasn’t getting up to start the meditation and then back up when it finished. So, I mostly just stopped using the app.

I haven’t stopped meditating though. It just looks like it. Instead of using the app, I’ve started spending ~15 minutes in the sauna every day in silent meditation.

Part of me is tempted to pull out my phone when I get out of the sauna and log the time, but at least so far, I haven’t. The reason is that having a track of whether or not I’m meditating is not the point. That’s a proxy. The point is how I feel and spending the time in the sauna is so much better than simply checking a box every day and seeing the streak count increase.

I track quite a bit of my life. Tracking my meditations wouldn’t be much of a burden, however it also wouldn’t provide much value. And just like I’ve begun asking of technology, I would ask: Is this the best way to accomplish this goal?

For now, tracking my meditations isn’t as valuable as spending the time with myself focusing on my breath.


Stephen Weiss

Written by Stephen Weiss who lives in Chicago with his wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Follow him on Twitter!