Using Notion to Manage Your Life - Part 7 of 12 - Daily Tracker and Tracking Habits


Why Use a Daily Tracker?

Tracking items on a daily basis provide a wealth of information to look back upon.  You can chart your sleep habits or weight over the course of months and years.  You can keep track of information to provide to a doctor for an underlying medical problem.  It gives you the ability to track patterns and determine if there is any correlation with other variables.

Another reason to keep a daily tracker is to highlight those important tasks and/or habits you want to accomplish.  As August Bradley puts it:

"...the things we track, we have insight into, and we know whether they're moving forward or not... the very act of observing them dramatically increases the odds of them progressing forward."


In James Clear's "Atomic Habits" (you can read my review here), the key takeaway is that in order to successfully start a new habit, you must start with small changes that are acted on daily.  Once that small change become automatic (a habit), then add another layer.

I've seen dashboards that have their own habits database, and I actually have one in my personal LifeOS workflow.  However, I never once used that database after its initial creation.  I find it much easier and more practical to add habits you want to track to the daily tracking database.

Remember, this is your LifeOS Dashboard, your Life Management System.  This tracker must be customized to suit your needs and what you want to keep track of.  Below I will add items to the tracker which I personally track and some items which may be more universal.  Please customize this database to your own needs.

As you continue to use this dashboard, you will have items to remove and new habits to track.  It is normal and expected.  This system is never "complete" as it is always changing as you change.

Enlarging Screenshots

A note regarding the screen shots...

I have tried to make the images in these tutorials as large as possible, but am limited with options due to the CMS I am using.  If you right click on an image and select "Open in new tab", you will be able to view the full size image.  I apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.

Topics in Today's Lesson

  1. Creating the Daily Tracker Database
  2. Creating a Daily Tracking Template
  3. Using the Daily Tracker

Notion Tutorials

  1. Getting Started with Notion
  2. Creating and Using the Notes Database
  3. Creating Templates for the Notes Database
  4. Creating and Using the Tasks Database
  5. Project Management Using Notion
  6. Goal Setting and Tracking
  7. Daily Tracking and Habits
  8. Weekly and Monthly Reviews
  9. Creating a Contacts Database or CRM
  10. Creating Book/Recipe/etc. Databases
  11. Using the Notion Web Clipper
  12. Bringing it Together with Global Tags

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Lesson 7: Creating the Daily Tracker Database

Step 1: The Daily Tracker Database will be worked on, you guessed it, daily.  Therefore, we will create the database within our Dashboard, under the "Today" toggle.  Expend the toggle and click the + icon next to the Tasks Database.

Step 2: Type "table" and then select "Table -Inline". Name the new table "Daily Tracking".

Step 3: Rename the "Name" field to "tDate" and change the "Tags" field to a date selection and name it "Date".  As we cannot have two fields with the same name, we put a "t" in front of the main column to denote it is a "text" field.

Step 4: Create a new field named "Day" as a formula.  Here, we will show the day of the week, based on the date that is selected.  Add the following formula to the field:

formatDate(prop("Date"), "dddd")

Step 5: To track the amount of sleep each night, add two date fields, "Bed Time" and "Wake Time".  Then add a formula field name "Sleep Time" and add the following formula.  We will explore how to fill this out in the next section.

if(dateBetween(prop("Wake Time"), prop("Bed Time"), "minutes") < 60, format(dateBetween(prop("Wake Time"), prop("Bed Time"), "minutes")) + " m", format(dateBetween(prop("Wake Time"), prop("Bed Time"), "hours")) + " h " + format(dateBetween(prop("Wake Time"), prop("Bed Time"), "minutes") - floor(dateBetween(prop("Wake Time"), prop("Bed Time"), "minutes") / 60) * 60) + " m")

Step 6: To track weight, add a numeric "Weight" field.  Next, add a "Vitamin" checkbox to check off after you have your daily vitamin, and a "Meditation" checkbox to check off after meditating.

Step 7: A good habit is to plan for the next day prior to ending the current day.  We can do that by looking at our calendars and tasks that are "Do" tomorrow.  Add a "Schedule Tomorrow" checkbox.

We can also track how efficient we were each day.  This is completely subjective but will provide a nice historical view as you continue to track it.  Create an "Efficiency" numeric field.

Finally, we know we always have room for improvement.  Create an "Improvement" text field.

Step 8: Delete the records created by default and add a filter to only show items where the "Date" is "Today".

Lesson 7: Creating a Daily Tracking Template

Step 1: As outlined in previous lessons, create a new template by clicking the arrow next to the blue "New" button and select "New template".  Name the template "New Daily Tracking Template", click "Open as page" in the upper left, and make it "Full width".

Step 2: Our template will be broken into two sections "Morning Startup" and "End of Day".

In the "Morning Startup", we will start the day off on a positive note by noting something we are grateful for.

Next, we will decide our "Daily Highlight".  In the book "Make Time", Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky outline a process to direct your focus and control your attention.  The first area in this process is "highlight".

From my review (which you can read here):

Without direction it is impossible to focus. We need to tell our brain where we want it to focus. This is what highlight is all about. Each morning, review your day and choose one item that will be the highlight of the day. Write it somewhere so you don't forget it and keep coming back to it throughout the day.

This doesn't mean the highlight is the only thing you work on during the day. You have other tasks that must get done, and things pop up throughout the day that require your attention and focus. The point of having a highlight is to keep coming back to that one item you set out to accomplish; to keep redirecting your focus as needed.

To assist us with choosing a highlight, we will create a toggle to a linked database to our Tasks Database.  Apply a filter to only show tasks with a "Do Date" of "today" and that are not checked off as "Done".

Step 3: Close the toggle and finally add a "Morning Journal" that can be customized to your liking.

Step 4: At the end of the day, we will open our tracking page and review the day's Highlights and Routines.  Create a linked database to our Daily Tracking Database and filter it to show there the "Date" is "Today".

This is just a shortcut to the fields/properties at the top of the page so we can easily review items we have not completed and mark them off if they are done.

Step 5: Next, we will add a place to track our "wins" for the day.  to help with this, we will have a toggle that opens a link to our "Tasks Database", which is filtered to show tasks with a "Do Date" of "Today" that are checked off as "Done".

Step 6: Now we will think of what we can improve upon tomorrow.  A shortcut to the field/property above is provided for easy access.  Filter the linked database where the "Date" is "Today" and hide all fields except the "tDate" and "Improvement" fields.

Step 7: Finally, we will end with some additional journal items.  What did I learn today?  Do I have a short story of a funny, serious, emotional moment that took place?  What do I want my subconscious mind to focus on while I sleep?  Again, customize this as you'd like.

Lesson 7: Using the Daily Tracker

Step 1: Head back to the dashboard and expand the "Today" toggle.  Delete the "Daily Tracking" records created during the database setup.

Step 2: Create a new Daily Tracking item using the template we created.  Select the "Date" as the current date and type the date as the page header.  The "Day" will automatically populate from the formula.

Step 3: To track "Sleep Time", click on the "Bed Time" field and select the previous day.  Click "Include Time" and enter the time you fell asleep.

Step 4: Repeat the same steps to enter the time you woke up this morning.  The "Sleep Time" will automatically calculate how much sleep you got.

Step 5: You can now fill out any other field you are tracking as needed.  For example, in the morning when I start my day, I've usually already weighed myself and taken my vitamin, therefore, I would fill those fields.

Step 6: Another habit to start, is completing the "Morning Startup" first thing in the morning.

Step 7: Throughout the day, you have quick access to your Daily Tracker and you can check off items you complete and fill in other items as needed.

Step 8: At the end of the day, before going to bed, open the page once again and complete the "End of Day" section.  Check to if you completed all your habits and routines and make updates as needed.  I use the "Efficiency" field to track how efficient I felt I was from a scale of 1 to 100.  Again, this is completely subjective and there is no science behind the number.

Step 9: With the help of viewing the day's completed tasks, highlight a couple "wins" for the day.

Step 10: Finally, document any improvements (this will be used again when we do the weekly and monthly reviews) and complete any Journal items.

End of Lesson 7: Daily Tracker and Tracking Habits

That is it!  We now have our Daily Tracking Database, a template to document the day, and the knowledge of how we can us it.

Next week, we will explore how we can summarize what we've tracked on a weekly and monthly basis to perform Weekly and Monthly Reviews.

Notion Tutorials

  1. Getting Started with Notion
  2. Creating and Using the Notes Database
  3. Creating Templates for the Notes Database
  4. Creating and Using the Tasks Database
  5. Project Management Using Notion
  6. Goal Setting and Tracking
  7. Daily Tracking and Habits
  8. Weekly and Monthly Reviews
  9. Creating a Contacts Database or CRM
  10. Creating Book/Recipe/etc. Databases
  11. Using the Notion Web Clipper
  12. Bringing it Together with Global Tags

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Lesson 7: Free Notion Template

Here is the link to the template we just created. To add this template to your workspace, click the "Duplicate" link in the upper right of the screen.