Perfectionism through numbers? How self-tracking technologies fit within individuals’ self-optimization projects

By Éric Dagiral


This paper analyzes the contemporary uses of digital self-tracking technologies when employed to optimize different aspects of people’s lives. Based on qualitative research on the Quantified Self practices of around twenty American and French executives, it focuses on how numbers and the measurement of activities fit within their self-optimization projects. It shows that this work of perfectionism, since it aims to link objectives and general values, makes the perfectionism-through-quantification process especially delicate and even exhausting. It also shows how these practices, which sit at the interface between professional, family, and personal life, highlight the intensification of executives’ self-care and self-control practices in terms of hygiene, health, and “well-being.”


  • optimization
  • perfectionism
  • self-management
  • digital self-tracking
  • quantified self
  • quantification
Go to the article on