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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kingdom of Siam, Uganda, Kenya, Vagabond '08

Photos I Wish I'd Taken, Friends, Moblog


One Acre Fund

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