Tracking Habits with Google Sheets

Harold Kim
Mar 31, 2015 · 3 min read

There’s a popular productivity tip I’ve seen attributed to Jerry Seinfeld.

  1. Grab a calendar.
  2. Each day you keep up a habit (eg. writing your book or practicing French), cross out that day with a big X.

Most importantly, don’t break the chain. It’s immensely satisfying to see a string of X’s that represent your persistence.

Even looking at that empty box makes me feel a little disappointed.

Plenty of apps exist for this, but I like to use spreadsheets because that’s what I’m comfortable with. Google Sheets works on my laptop and phone, and keeps things synchronized in both places.

To make your own, create a copy of this template. (“Make a copy” is inside the“File” menu).

You can also download this as an Excel file if you prefer to use another spreadsheet tool or don’t have a Google account.

That’s it! Customize it with your own goals and habits and bonne chance!

Some quick tips

  • Boxes will automatically turn green if you mark it with an x. This is thanks to some simple conditional formatting. The same feature is responsible for magically highlighting the current date. Neat! Those settings are in: Format > Conditional formatting…
  • You could use the Habit Tracker as a mini-journal. If you’re making good progress on some habits, or need to explain why you haven’t been keeping up, add a comment.
Insert > Comment or right-click on cell, Insert Comment.
  • Once you’ve used Habit Tracker for a couple weeks, you’ll run into the problem of having to scroll horizontally to get to the current date. No worries! Just collapse a few columns and keep them out of sight.
Select a range of columns, right-click, and hide. You can also use this method to add multiple new columns.
  • It’s even better if you use the habit tracker in conjunction with a reminders app. I personally use Inbox by Gmail, though iOS Reminders and Due App are great options I’ve tried in the past.
In Inbox, you’ll find the Reminders button in the red circle at bottom right.

Enjoy! Keep the streak alive. :o)

Harold Kim

Written by

Design at @google.

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