Our featured stories highlight people doing remarkable work with no-code tools and automations. It can be building a business using a no-code tool, driving efficiency through automation, or a passion project.
When we heard about Chris Dancy, we were intrigued. Not only is he ‘The Most Connected’ person on the planet, but his work in the intersection of technology and healthcare helps build a case for staying connected.
Meet Chris Dancy
Chris Dancy entered the public eye when he took to wearable technology, connecting up to 700 sensors, devices, and applications to track, analyze, and optimize his life–from his calorie intake to his spiritual well-being. Using this dashboard view of his life, Chris began to see the connections of otherwise invisible data, resulting in dramatic upgrades to his health, productivity, and quality of life.
Chris has been featured on the cover of Businessweek and as “patient zero in the digital health revolution” for the Showtime documentary series Dark Net, and has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the BBC, Fox News and Wired.
Chris Dancy’s 2018 book Don’t Unplug: How technology saved my life and can save yours too is a deliberate response to a modern movement toward digital sabbaticals.
Here’s his story
My name is Chris Dancy; if you go to Google right now and search for "Most Connected," I'll be the first hit. For almost a decade, I have been referred to as the world's most connected human! Currently, I'm the founder of a startup focused on how we spend our time, called OurBalance. It’s an app that reveals four key behavioral and biological metrics that enable you to see how you are doing. This helps you take action where it is most needed.
My day-to-day income comes from keynoting and consulting for some of the world's biggest companies. Companies like Coke, Microsoft, Nokia, Ikea pay me to share my story and secrets about creating hyper-connected systems to document and change the world!
Several years ago, I was asked to share my AirTable system on Keep Productive, a YouTube channel with over 200K subscribers. Much to my surprise, it also became a "Most" name: The thumbnail referred to it as ‘The Most Advanced Airtable’! (Definitely check out the video if you’re curious to know how Airtable can transform your life, literally!)
For fun, I'm a practicing technopagan and enjoy creating digital magical rituals and hyper connecting natural elements to my life, for instance, my mood tied to the moon cycle, or my IoT fireplace, tied to weather!
I'm happily married to the man of my dreams, Fernando, and we share our home with Sunny, Rocket, and Luna, our dogs and cat!
A Snapshot of the ‘Most Advanced Airtable’
It began when I started putting all of my information into Google Calendar. I basically created different ‘life areas’ and tried getting them to work together. That’s how I began using Zapier – fun fact, I think I might have been Wade Forester’s first paid customer that wasn’t a business! (He’s the CEO of Zapier)
So once I had the productivity and time management pieces organized, I had to think of how I could integrate health with all of that. I wanted to map all my devices to a single vision for how I interact with the world. This was how I ended up with my gyroscope.
The gyroscope is a way of seeing a day in your life, and how it relates to productivity and health combined. But at this point, some of the challenges I was having came from the fact that my stack was missing ‘values’.
I had productivity and health in the bag, but I wasn’t focusing on the things that mattered – my legacy, mortality, the time I made for things that were important to me.
To do this, I created a mindmap for how I would orchestrate my day-to-day relationships in the form of groups of tables.
- Asset tables: This included entity tables, bank accounts, and health tables
- Liability tables: This section is a summary of everything I owe to everyone, credit cards, vendors, bills, etc.
- The revenue-generating tables: This forms a bridge between contacts, entities, services, customers. It helps me track everything that brings in money.
- Legal and record keeping: Everything that needs storing, from bank forms, statements, transactions, bookkeeping stuff – it’s all here.
- Foundation: This is exactly what you think it is. It contains values, goals, house-related updates, and everything that keeps me grounded.
- Action tables: My tasks and interactions and all stored in action tables. By this, I mean every. single. task. and. interaction.
My Airtable helps me hold all of these tasks together.
Here are some of the other no-code tools that I use:
Zapier: All my interactions get automatically plugged into my email because there’s a zap that moves it into the system right away.
Notion: I use notion to view my systems and tasks on dashboards that can be customized based on what I need to see first.
The birth of Daretable
When I was creating a mind-map of the new system for AirTable, I realized that so much of what I do for a living was already tied up in how I wanted the system to behave.
When clients ask me to do an event or consult, one of the things I allow them to pick is a "feeling" they want to have when the engagement is over. This helps me tailor the content, communication style, and even how I speak!
As I mapped out the system, I realized that I could actually start before the required "feeling" selection and define everything in my life through the value that it aligned to. No longer did I pay my mortgage, but instead spent home on "home". If I answered an email from a potential client, it wasn't "work"; it was "service".
Suddenly I realized that my AirTable was more than a database; it was a map to everything and everyone I value.
This included weekly meetings with my family and friends to review how we aligned to our values each week and what we intended to focus on the next week!
The birth of Caretable
After two years of this system, I took time to spin up a second system around how spiritually connected I was, so I could start to map not only my feelings but actually change my perception of time.
For the second system, I created a database of all the celestial functions for the 2020s. Sunrises, sunsets, moon phases, zodiac alignments, Chinese New Year! Then I took that massive temporal dataset and built a tarot card reader to allow me each day to see where I was in time, and next, journal, reflect, and log how I was feeling.
Each day I get an email from CareTable with where I am in time, and a Twitter bot account that shares today's place in time for me!
I recently linked the two systems together to bring the people into my life into my spiritual practices in time and have found a remarkable sense of calm in my world.
My stack is pretty simple. Everything starts in Miro, so I can visually map it. Then I move it to AirTable to make it functionally designed. Finally, I use an AirTable front-end called Pory.io to make my systems accessible!
I try to never use any more automation or add-ons than required to do the smallest amount! People may not realize it, but no-code can become expensive and complex rather quickly.
Connectedness at scale
Today, there are a million apps, services, and options to log your life, try to manage your time, become more productive, or just hustle. Yet, they all are other people's versions of the life you should live.
We have an epidemic of people who are living lives designed by other people. I wanted to design my own life (DareTable) and death (CareTable).
The first step to working with your hyper-connected life is understanding your time and creating balance. Lots of apps will let you measure your time, but none will tell you if you’re balanced. To measure and balance and balance your time you need to decide that some things are fundamental. Rest, Work, Play, and Movement. Once those are balanced, you have the platform to start to make better choices.
To get started download and try “OurBalance”. The app will passively, anonymously, and instantly allow you to see your time and focus on keeping it balanced without overachieving in any one area.
You can’t save time, you can only spend it better!
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Chris!