A few years ago I read a Medium article about Minimalist journaling
that stuck with me. (more here
). The approach is relatively simple: you have a single box that describes everything about the day. At the end of each day, you reflect and fill it in with what you did that day. You can easily look back and see how a day went in a glance.
I loved the simplicity of the idea but wanted a digital version that pulled in data automatically, rather than copying it to a journal. I spent the last few days trying to rebuild something similar for personal use that I thought I’d share! I’d be curious what others think of the idea, or if you’ve tried any other similar dashboard/visual representations of a single day? End of the Day
I’ll start at the end. Here’s what a day looks like after everything has been added.
End of the day
There’s a lot to unpack here. This box is based on what's most important to me. Your day could have whatever parts are most relevant to your life.
Here’s a key to what everything means, including parts that weren’t shown for this day.
Key for my dashboard
Luckily this would never happen unless I worked out in 6 different ways, learned in 4 different ways, and did a lot more too. The background color of the entire box is based on the mood score for the day. How it works
Behind the scenes, ALL data from this is being pulled from https://exist.io/
's API. Exist collects data from Apple Health and a bunch of other services. Some of these are custom tags on Exist for a yes/no on if that event happened during the day.
Data is coming from:
- Exist iOS app (Location, weather - great work on this app!)
- Apple Health (Steps and time in bed are from my phone, so not too accurate)
- Net Calories are based on food tracked with FoodNoms app - resting calories for my age/weight - active calories from Apple Health (note: this day is an outlier since I went for a long run and didn’t eat enough).
- Active calories are from Strava or from Gym Hero/Streaks Workout synced via Apple Health & Exist iOS.
- Todoist for tasks
- Code tag is for GitHub commits > 0
- Productive time is tracked locally using Qbserve
Behind the scenes, I have a Ruby on Rails app that’s managing my a snapshot of all this data running on Digital Ocean. It hits the Exist API every hour and grabs keeps the dashboard up to date.
I set this URL to my Chrome start page, so whenever I open a new tab I see a quick snapshot of how the day is going. When I wake up it looks like this (after walking around my apt and getting breakfast).
Wake up view
It’s still a work in progress, but it’s been a fun project! It’s using Tailwind.css for all styling (I didn’t write a line of CSS for this) and FontAwesome for all icons. It’s using Vue.js, Graphql, and Ruby on Rails on the backend.
Initially, I had red/green icons for if I met or didn’t meet a goal for the day. That turned out to be demotivating rather than motivating and made me not want to look at the dashboard. Now I use an unfilled version of the icon if the goal hasn’t been met, or a filled-in version if it is met (like for steps, calories, productive time, or sleep time).
I thought this was a bit of a fun and different use of personal data I hadn’t seen before and wanted to share. To continue this form of journaling, all I need to do at the end of the day is add in a rating, a few words and click a few icons to denote activities.
I'm not sure where this will go, but I thought it a great idea (the original Medium article that is) and a fun way to take it digital. I'd be interested to hear what other digital minimalists are doing when it comes to journaling?