There are a ton of apps that help you track your daily habits and life activities. I’ve tried at least 10 of them, from simple “Do not break the chain” to promising “Gyroscope app” and famous “Habitica”. Always something wasn’t made the way I needed it. I was looking for a more personal and flexible system with better opportunities for data analysis about how well I am moving towards my yearly goals.
Then I found this reddit post and turns out that the best, most powerful, and flexible solution is Google Forms + Sheets. After some tweaks my dream productivity system (or whatever to call it) was ready and I want to share it with you.
The beauty of a daily habit tracker
No matter what you think your goals or priorities are, what you actually devote your time to is what you’re choosing to make a priority in your life. Do you really know how you spend your days? Well, it’s quite easy to find out.
“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
This system is a way to improve a daily routine, life and to better understand yourself. It’s also a great tool to look back on charts for self-assessment and reflection.
- You’ll simply overcome your negativity bias by seeing a big picture of your life activities.
- It will help you build good habits.
- It will help you understand your life patterns and behavior.
- You’ll become more conscious of time
- Someday you’ll make a nice post on r/dataisbeautiful.
This system might seem overwhelming at first, but it usually takes about 2 minutes every day to fill the form.
My absolute favorite thing about this system is its flexibility. You can put anything you want to track: personal data, medications and symptoms, mood, people you spend time with, work you do.
Track your habits stay on the right path toward your goals and or simply observe current patterns and understand your behavior. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Sleep/Wake Up time
- Calorie intake
- Side projects work
Gamify your life
While gamification is a buzzword that gets tossed around all the time, in this case, it does a great job summing up all activities in a simple, quantified metric. This system encourages positive behavior and constant involvement through winning incentives. Basically, you complete a task, you get reward points. I personally have no milestone prizes or any external rewards but it could work for someone.
Here’s a part of the current points scheme (you can always change it):
- Waking up before 8 am = 200p
- Doing morning pushups = 50p
- Maintain good habit = 100p
- Going to gym = 100p
- Avoiding bad habit = 50p
- Being 100% productive = 150p
This is the main part with 4 charts and some goals you can set up. It’s quite easy to set up your own desirable dashboard for any activities you want to see. Your current 30 days stats are compared to goal and color coded.
That’s my most used feature where you can see what your sleep patterns are. In my case they are quite bad.
If you want to get or lose weight here you can see your progress chart. Don’t forget to set up the start and target weight.
This sheet uses the collected data and calculates the points automatically. You can set up points according to your needs and goals.
This sheet contain all the data from hidden sheet + some additional columns like weekday, sleep time and also all “Yes/No” fields converted to numbers in order to be able to use them in charts and formulas.
It may look weird (and it is), but due to some constraints that Google Forms + Sheets has it’s the only way to have custom formulas alongside with stored responses.
This hidden sheet contains all of the data you’ll submit. Avoid editing this sheet without a need — otherwise it could cause unexpected errors.
Habit tracker set up guide
1. Log in to your Google Account and Copy Life Tracking Data Sheet
2. Life Tracking Form is linked to that sheet so you’ll find the form in your Google Drive right after copying. you can change the naming of values, life areas or habits. Everything else has to stay the same, don’t change the order of questions.
3. Proceed to form by clicking on the eye at the top of the page, then bookmark the provided URL for easy access. You can fill the form on your smartphone before bedtime or on the commute.
Over time, your aggregated results will teach you much about your habits, your day-to-day life, and yourself. The real trick is to stay consistent. Give it a try, it only takes a few minutes to get started and fill it out every day.
- Tracking your habits is not meant to make you feel bad or guilt you into changing your daily routine. It simply gives you the power of information.
- You could use this habit tracker as a personal life journal. There’s a comment section for everyday entry
- It’s much easier to track more and then erase unnecessary data than trying to fill in the blanks in retrospective.
- I feel that the current system is more about gathering data than providing insights. There are some hardcore analytics services like Google Data Studio for better reporting, but it’s overkill.
Thanks to Path_of_change reddit user for the base of this system.