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barcampLA 4: personal unit tests
Taking a concept from software development and applying it to your life: test small parts of the system constantly. These tests should:

  • Be fixable within 1-2 hours after figuring out you failed the test
  • Test steps, not ends ("did I study Spanish for 20 minutes today?" not "am I fluent in seven languages?")
  • Test what, not how (don't really get this one)
  • Be as easy as possible, or you won't do it. Pencil and paper? Spreadsheet? whatever
  • Be answered every day. But you can create tests that have a time period longer than one day, e.g. "have I talked to my mother in the last seven days?" - you do it once, and then it's a freebie for the next six days

Goal is mindfulness - being aware of different areas of your life. Good areas to include are things like: health, community, relationships, work, finances ... but avoid introspection. "It's so much easier to lie to yourself about things that are just in your head ... I decided to only test things that someone else could verify if they happened to be there."

Guy (I think his name is Ted) tracks what % of tests he tracks every day, and has a goal of hitting at least 50% every day. Has gradually trended upwards over time, best day was 73%. He makes his test results public, with a changelog.

"Personal unit tests are a way to discover if you're kicking ass."

Q: "How do you know if you've covering enough areas of your life?" A: "The simple answer is you don't."

My favorite BCLA4 talk so far.

Tech
Development, Medical, PIM, Hardware, Collaboration, Android, Data, RSS, Energy, Automobile, Web, barcamp, OS, Social, Security, Net, MacOS, WRX, Product Management, Wearables, Audio, Shopping, s60, Mobile, Business, Web analytics, a11y, Open, Crowdsourcing, Javascript, Visual, Storage

Other
L.A., Feminism, Video, Minnesota, Toys, Podcasts, Surfing, Statistics, Games, Bicycling, Politik, Food & Drink, Clothes, Activism, Travel, History, Quizzes, San Francisco, CrowdFlower, NYC, Sports, Agriculture, Life hacks, Geography, Friday, Personal care, Law, Boston, Berlin, Housing, Transportation

Music
Mixes, Mp3s, Lyrics, Business, House, Labels, History, Booking, Events, Streams, Boston, Mailing lists, Shopping, Videos, Making, Musicians, Reviews, Good tracks, L.A., Hip-hop

People
Meditation, Subcultures, Health, Friends, Life hacks, MOTAS, Me, Weblogs, Stories, Gossip, Enemies, Exercise, Vocations, Heroes, ADD, Languages, Family, Working with

Arts
Movies, Rhetoric, Poetry, Humor, Literature, Comix, Sculpture, Events, iPad bait, Desktop wallpaper bait, Visual, Spoken Word, Burning Man, Outlets, Animation

Commerce
Macroeconomics, Web, Real Estate, IP Law, Shopping, Personal services, Insurance, Microfinance, Investing, Marketing and CRM, Taxes, Non-profit, Management consulting, Personal finance, International Development

Design
Algorithmic, Type, Cool, IA, Tools, Web, Architecture, Furniture, Process, User experience, Data visualization, Presentations

Science
Networks, Zoology, Physics, Psychology, Environment, Statistics and Data

Travel
Uganda, Vagabond '08, Kingdom of Siam, Kenya

Photos
Moblog, Photos I Wish I'd Taken, Friends

Philosophy
Mind

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Internet classic

One Acre Fund

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