A personal inventory of time recording

A 6 week project for Information Design at ArtCenter College of Design.

Fall 2020

The Topic

I find that the one thing I do very regularly is check the time, almost obsessively. It's the one thing I do more than anything else.

What would I uncover if I recorded every time I looked at the... time?

Data Collection

Whenever I checked the time I made a note:

  • What was the time I checked?

  • What device did I check it on?

  • What was going on (if applicable)?

  • Was I in class or not?

I collected data for fourteen straight days.

Recording Method

I used the Notability app on my iPad to record each entry.


Devices recorded:

  • Watch

  • Phone

  • Desktop

  • Microwave (I always look here in the kitchen)

I ended up with 21 full pages.

An excerpt from my Notability pages.

Data Organization

I had already developed a solid system for logging the data manually and it translated well to a Google Sheet. I assigned each device a number (watch = 1, phone = 2, etc.) for testing the data on charts.

In total there were 834 data points.

I plotted the data on the Google Sheet to get ideas for visualization.

Various chart types based on the data collected in my recording
A screen shot of the Google Sheet with the data sorted

An excerpt from my Google Sheet.

Visual Exploration

I was inspired by Stefanie Posavec and Giogia Lupi's "Dear Data" series and set out to visualize my data in ways I wouldn't normally approach it.

I began assigning colors to the datasets to give them distinguishing visual treatment.

Hand drawn sketches of visualization ideas for the data



Creating my visualizations digitally allowed for greater fidelity as well as more meticulous plotting of each data point. It was very satisfying to see each day's recording come together.

Screen capture of the legend used to interpret the data in the visualizations, distinguishing between watch, phone, desktop, and microwave time readings. Contexts for in class and not in class are shown

The legend

Digital template for the data visualization, with every second in the day represented by spokes on a circle

The template I created

The first day plotted to the template with each of the data points represented according to the legend

One day plotted out

I plotted all 834 points in a linear progression. It's a very long scatter plot!

With all fourteen days plotted, I was able to visualize different aspects of the data.

The single day split into its four data points, showing the various trends

One day split into its separate devices.

Image of the four separate datapoints, overlaid on themselves by the 14 days

All fourteen days split by device.

Poster Presentation

The final deliverable would be a poster to exhibit the data gathered and how I visualized it. In my first round I presented two: a landscape poster 48"x24" and a 36" diameter round.

Rectangular poster with all of the days plotted on it
A circular version of the poster, with a large visualization in the center, surrounded by the individual days visualized

After some instructor and class feedback, I went through another few rounds of iteration, bringing the two ideas together and exploring other visual treat-ments.

The final poster, rectangular with a rounded right side. The large data visualization is nested in the right curve and the individual days are aligned in the left side

My final presentation was a whopping 72"x24", but presented the data in an engaging and easy to follow structure. I was very excited to share this.

Beyond the Brief

I was very pleased with the way the data came together and was intrigued with the application of motion to data. I experimented with Adobe Xd's 3D feature as well as the auto-animate to create some interesting visuals.

An animation of the visualization of the busiest day splitting apart to show the four unique data sets

Seeing one day pulled from the fourteen and then split into its four devices made for a compelling sight.

Animation of the data visualization spinning and separating into a pointy sphere and spinning to showcase all of the data points

Using Xd's new 3D effects allowed me to make this awesome rotation of the data.



Analyzing my own life and recording my own activity made for a unique approach to making data personal. I gained a huge respect for all of the data visualization and information design that we encounter on a daily basis. One day I might be able to create the animations above for real interactive web-based experiences!

To view the complete final presentation deck, please click here: Punctual Final Presentation (made in Adobe Xd)