Welcome to the final part of my three part digital planning and productivity series. This post is all about notes, habit tracking and health tracking. If you’ve missed the other parts, here are links to the whole series…
- Digital planning, part 1: Google Calendar, Todoist and Clockwork Tomato
- Digital planning, part 2: Microsoft OneNote
- Digital planning, part 3: Google Keep, HabitBull and Fitbit
If you haven’t encountered Google Keep before, it’s kind of like digital post-it notes with nifty extra features. As well as general notes, you can create lists with tick boxes, include rich link previews, add drawings, set reminders and sync with Google Docs. Google recently added some lovely new colour options for Keep notes and while that shouldn’t be a massively important feature, it really is for me.
Like Google Calendar, Keep is completely free, syncs across devices and platforms, and allows sharing of specific notes with other users. This is awesome for things like keeping track of spending through the week or having a shared family shopping list. And in case you’re wondering, cause I totally did, each user can independently change the colour of a shared note.
I mostly use Google Keep as a shopping list, spending tracker (my husband and I have a shared note for that) and scratchpad. When an idea pops into my head at an inconvenient time, I can grab my phone, put the idea into a Keep note, then carry on with whatever I’m doing (or go back to sleep) safe in the knowledge that I won’t forget the thing and can add it to my to-do list, book editing notes or whatever later.
HabitBull does SO MUCH MORE than what I use it for, so if you want to know literally everything about it, definitely check out the website. It’s a shockingly fully-featured habit tracking app that can spit out lots of lovely statistics if you want it to. I pretty much use it for remembering when I last cleaned the bathroom, keeping an eye on the regularity of my social media posts, and seeing a nice visual representation of my yoga and meditation practice.
You can use it to help form habits, set goals and get lovely motivational pictures and sayings thrown at you every day, but I don’t use it for any of those things. It’s basically my “I suck at remembering when I did stuff so now I don’t have to remember” tool. But it’s a very pretty one.
I debated whether to even include Fitbit here because it’s more than just an app and it’s such a huge thing all on its own, but since I use it for things that I used to put in my bullet journal, it’s being included.
I don’t track food, calories or weight. A lot of people do and I used to, but it wasn’t doing my mental health any favours for a whole bunch of reasons, so I stopped. I track activity (steps and exercise), water intake, sleep and heart rate.
The activity tracker I have is a Charge 2. It’s debatable how accurate the heart rate monitor is, but I assume it’s at least consistent with itself, so that’s enough for me. I’m really just looking at general trends and being able to see the amount of sleep below which my resting heart rate will be higher the following day, for example, is useful.
Living with a chronic illness that massively impacts my mobility means that when I have rotten days, I often feel like I’ve done nothing. Being able to look at a little graph that shows exactly how much I’ve actually done – steps are steps, even with walking sticks – is such a wonderful boost for me. It’s also great to be able to see how different things affect my sleep patterns because that helps me make better choices.
Tracking a heap of things your body does isn’t for everyone and activity trackers and apps seem to be things people either get super excited about or totally don’t understand the appeal of, but as someone who LOVES numbers and has good reason to keep an eye on what my body is doing, it’s really useful for me.
That’s it for this series! I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts and found them useful. If you want to share your favourite planning and productivity apps, please leave a comment because I’m always on the look-out for useful things ❤