How I Built a Habit Tracker Tool in Notion

Simple life hack to master discipline & productivity

Recently, I started using Notion to track my habits. An idea that I originally built on Excel. But I decided to switch to Notion (because Excel is slow) and I wanted to access my habit tracking from the browser.

Today, I will share my steps on how to create your own habit tracker. Let’s check this out:

1. Ideation stage💡

I’ve never come across any habit tracking apps that fit my needs. 😵

I wanted to track not only my habits, but also my work, and how my days look like and which segment of work I focus most on.

To begin, I list down parts I want to build

  • A one-page habit tracking tool
  • Calendar format with daily check-in mechanism
  • Display a list of goals I want to track
  • One-click methodology to easily check on goals
  • Visualize “heatmap” to see my overall progress

2. Set up Notion 💻

Go to Notion and sign up for a free account.

Getting started

  • Start a new workspace in Notion
  • Create a database by choosing “Table” option
  • Start editing your Table, just like Excel or Google Sheets

3. Calendar format 📅

One reason I like about connecting the calendar idea with habit tracking is that it allows me to do daily check-in with Day/Date reference.

I can easily compare my progress today of doing X versus the past days. Here’s how to create this section in Notion:

Add a “Day” column

  • Rename your first Column as “Day”
  • Fill up the table vertically with day details such as Mon, Tue, Wed, etc.
  • I also use this column to summarize my day using emojis

Add a “Date” column

  • Next, rename the second Column as “Date”
  • Under “Property Type” select Date to create date database
  • Make your first entry on an empty cell. You should be able to see a calendar selector in “Date” column
👉Access the Habit Tracker template here

4. Add your goals 🏃‍♂️

Now think about which life areas you want to improve and how to design them into parameters that allows you to act upon on daily basis.

For example, I want to improve my sleep-wake time consistency. Therefore, tracking the time I wake up becomes a valuable data point.

Other goals idea by category

  • Daily habits or routine (wake early, meditate, exercise, read, sleep)
  • Work or project related (client work, code, write, learn new things)
  • Networking related (attending meetup, reach out on social)

Here’s how to configure your goals in Notion

  • Click on “+” to create a new Column
  • Rename each column horizontally as your goal item
  • Add an emoji on each goal to make it more visual

5. Track your goals ✔️

I like using “1” (done) vs “0” (missed) tagging method to check on my goals. This method also allows you to quantify your progress, i.e. number of days done (or missed).

I also add color logic to differentiate “1” (green) vs. “0” (red) so I will have a “heatmap” view for the entire habit tracking activity. Let’s set this up:

Create “Select” property

  • Right click on each goal item from the Column
  • Set “Property Type” as “Select”
  • Repeat above steps for the rest of the goal items

Create “1” and “0” tag

  • Click on an empty cell below each goal item
  • Type in “1” & hit enter, then do the same when creating a “0” tag
  • Edit the tag color “1” (green) and “0” (red)

If you prefer the ☑️ method, you can use the “Checkbox” property instead:

Check on goals

  • Update your progress by clicking on an empty cell of each goal item
  • You should be able to switch between “1” and “0” tag to refer status of your progress
👉Access the Habit Tracker template here

6. Analyze your progress 📈

I’m less of a fan of complicated charts/graph and more of a fan of simplicity when it comes to understanding my habits pattern.

Here’s how I use this tool to analyze my progress

  • I look at the emojis on the “Day” column to see my activity, energy level productivity and emotions
  • I look at consistency of my habits (done vs. missed)
  • Each weekend, I summarize my progress on a notebook

For example, weekly review

  • Wake at 6am: 5/7
  • Meditate 10 mins: 5/7
  • Exercise 30 mins: 4/7
  • Read 1 hour: 7/7
  • Learn: 5/7
  • Client work: 6/7
  • Build prototype: 5/7
  • Social post: 5/7
  • Sleep before 11pm: 3/7
Note: This article is part of my toolkit newsletters↗️ where I share resources about building things. Join me 🙂
👉Access the Habit Tracker template here

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