General tracker

Hello, has anyone used Drafts for a generic tracker, showing the last time you did X. I was thinking of having one Draft that contained text like this:

Cut grass - 12/1/2023 - 3 days ago
Hair cut - 11/1/2023 - 33 days ago

The date and “days ago” would be overwritten each time the activity is performed. I am not sure the best way to input this data. Probably using an iOS Shortcut that could be called from my phone or Apple watch. Am I barking up the wrong tree trying to put this into Drafts? If you have used other tools to accomplish this I would love to hear about it. Thanks!

I have not used Drafts for this, but what use would the days ago be? As in, when you write that line it would always be when you do it, so the value would always be “0 days”, or am I misunderstanding?

The days ago would let me know how many days ago I did X. I have played around with this in Google Sheets, and the days ago column is: todays_date - last_date_of_activitiy.

I understand the calculation, but it seems like you are doing it once at the point of addition. Not auto calculating like a spreadsheet.

Good point… Drafts wouldn’t recalculate something in the Draft each day… Likely Drafts isn’t the tool for what I am looking for.

I use a Shortcut to write info to a Google Sheets tracker via a webhook. I can also use a Drafts action to do the same, send to the Sheet, via the webhook. I find this handy for recording things that were not in Todoist as tasks. I don’t have it work so that it overwrites the last date as, well, that would be a bit too structured and inflexible for me. Instead, I use conditional formatting and some formula knowledge to get it to work as I need. If I need to find when I last did something, I just do a search in the sheet.

It looks like this, to the right of the tracking entries…

Screenshot of Safari (04-12-2023, 21-50-51)

No, nice. I will have to look into webhooks to send data to Google Sheets. I could create a summary sheet in Google Sheets and use Google’s query language to select max value for the thing I want to track.

I’m not that much of a nerd, but believe me, activating a Shortcut on my Apple Watch, dictating, and it instantly appear in a Google Sheet, really feels like the future has arrived for me. :blush:

Actually yes. I do something similar.

I keep a daily journal in which I log a range of different things. The daily journal is produced by an action I run each morning. The daily journal action also triggers an “update days since last” action that queries my drafts for a range of different trackers, gets the date of the most recent journal draft a tracker was logged and calculates the number of days since the tracker was logged. I also use this “days since last” draft as the basis of a “plain text visualisation” widget for number of days elapsed.

It works well enough for me as a nudge to keep some specific actions/habits top of mind. It’s also useful because I note these things in Drafts anyway, so it’s good to know I can extract meaningful value from my logs.

I also have a “constants” syntax, which is just a way of tracking keywords or phrases I want to pay specific attention to. I use an action to produce a menu that shows me all of my constants in a list, sorted by ascending date, and shows how long since the last instance of each constant. Selecting a constant from this menu inserts a new instance in the current draft.

I use Drafts as a workout tracker, logging specific exercises with reps and/or duration (bodyweight holds etc). I used to push my workout logs to a spreadsheet for graphing, but I let that part go a while back and haven’t missed it. If I have too many things in too many different places, I start to lose track (out of sight, out of mind).

I’ve logged trackers from Drafts to Streaks and Nomie via Shortcuts and an API respectively. You should be able to do the same with any tracking app that offers appropriate Shortcuts actions, URL schemes or an API. I’ve graphed some of the data stored in my drafts using a vis.js action. I’ve also used Charty to create graphs on widgets from data stored in Drafts, but that does get a little complicated.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you want to achieve. If you just want to track when you last did things, you can absolutely do that in Drafts. I’d recommend using a draft as the basis of your log— that allows you to make use of modified or created dates for any relative date calculations, whether you’re using a daily journal for a range of different trackers like I am, or using a draft to track the instances of a specific tracker (e.g. one draft per tracker, where each draft stores a list of log dates), or a draft for each logged instance (this results in lots of drafts with only a single entry in each, but then also allows you to use tags as metadata for individual log entries).

If you’re happy with basic visualisations, you can do that, too. If you want to do correlations or anything more involved, I’m sure there’s a way to get close, but you’ll likely find it easier to use a dedicated app. From the sounds of it, you might want to take a look at Chronicling, which could be a really good complement to tracking things in Drafts (via Shortcuts actions). I’m all for appreciating Drafts’ limitations, and knowing when to use an app that’s designed for a specific purpose, but I also think Drafts is very capable of fulfilling some functions we fail to give it credit for.

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I think I’d only use Drafts for this if you were already using it for other journaling and logging etc, really. I tend to track a lot of this kind of thing in my Bullet Journal in Drafts, but at least right now I’m not doing anything particularly organised. I mean I can probably search for most of them - something like backed up iPad would be easy to go back and find, but I’d probably want to come up with something more complicated if it was something I wanted to seriously track.

I also track workouts like Jsamlarose, but my system is based on the actual workout I did. Every workout has its own Draft, and every time I do it I link to it in my longform journal, where I write down how it went. Not often sets and reps etc - they’re usually just follow-along youTube workouts, but sort of how I felt while doing it, movements I found hard, improvements I’ve made. I then wrote an action that goes through the journal and appends those workout log entries together in a temporary Draft that then gets thrown to preview. :smiling_face:.

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@jsamlarose, thank you so much for the detailed response. I’ll see what I can cobble together. I also appreciate your reference to Nomie. Too bad the app officially shut down! I have a version running on Netifly. But I know it won’t run indefinitely. So I have been looking for alternative ways of tracking.

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Yeah, Nomie’s dead. But Nomie still lives. :wink:

It’s Nomie 6 with further development. Got picked up by a committed user who’s promised to keep things going for the foreseeable future. You need to roll your own cloud if you want it accessible on more than one device, but I think that’s where Brandon (original dev) got to with it anyway…

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