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Logging & Monitoring Life: The Smartphone Way

April 15, 2016

When I was in 10th standard I had a thought of keeping track of my exam preparations and started writing a diary. Back then I used to log major daily events, study progress & happenings in a full scape notebook. To pursue 11-12th science, I moved out of home and studied in Valsad city, that’s where I realized the importance of cost tracking. Therefore, along with the daily diary, I also initiated monitoring my expenses.

Over the span of years, I enjoyed keeping logs and started monitoring a few more affairs.

Unlike previous times, I use my phone to supervise everything. In this post, I’d share how exactly I do all these things with my Xiomi Redmi 1S Android device.

The Requisites
The Basics 1 - Diary

In the first days of my journey I wrote in notebooks, then moved to Microsoft Word and then to Evernote. Currently I write in the Dairo app, it’s awesome. I couldn’t think of any better alternative of this application.

It offers cloud synchronization with Dropbox (the heart), has folders system, allows to tag entries, location info, photo attachments, access security, backup restore and what not.

Diaro app

I write entries in mainly 3 folders.

  • Day Journal – Experiences of the whole day
  • Accomplishments List – The tiny/big feats of the day. This folder works as a productivity booster when I feel low.
  • Grateful To – I post entries of the people who have helped me directly or indirectly in the day.

Above categories are the essentials, some others I use are:

  • TIL – Today I Learned – Noting all the new things learned
  • TIT – Today I Thought – A place to stuff all the shower thoughts
  • Points – Information about the destinations I want to travel / I travelled

The possibilities are infinite. The hardest part of this initiative is, to keep up the momentum. To write daily, without any breaks. The rest is an easy task..

The Basics 2 - Expenses

Here’s how I evolved: Notebook > Notepad > Excel Sheets > Expense Manager > Expense IQ.

Expense IQ is a very powerful and feature packed app for expense tracking. It actually combines an expense manager, a bill reminder, a checkbook register and a budget planner!

Expense IQ

You need to add accounts first. The most common account types are,
1. Cash
2. Bank Account

After that, add some categories for better organization. Setup is complete now! The app has a quite complex UI, use it for a week you’ll get acquainted with it. After some time when you’d look back at your expenses, you’d realize that the some of your expenditures were totally unnecessary. You could have saved the money and would have been able to buy a nice T Shirt out of it.

Aforementioned two basics are enough to start. As I said earlier, the biggest hurdle is to log consistently. Make it your habit. Practice it daily, nothing can stop you.

Let’s have a look at few more logging techniques..

Pro 1 - Track Physical Activity Using Google Fit

Google Fit

Google Fit is an effortless way to track your activity. Just install the app, carry your phone and get access to your walking, running and cycling activity data. Yes, it’s that simple. No extra efforts.

Pro 2 - Log Weather, Currency, Tweets, Facebook Posts etc. Using IFTTT

IFTTT Recipes

IFTTT is an incredible automation tool. (I wrote about it here) Their IF Recipes run automatically in the background and do predefined tasks. Here’s some of my favorite recipes:

  • Log the weather daily at sunrise to a spreadsheet (Link)
  • Keep a phone call log in Google Drive (Link)
  • All your tweets in a Google Spreadsheet (Link)
  • Send Gmail attachments to Google Drive (Link) (Super useful)
  • How strong is my currency in another country? Log the exchange rate every day (Link)
  • Set my Wallpaper to Bing’s Image of the Day (Link)

These are just a tip of the iceberg. There’s much more you can do with IFTTT. It has a nice web interface as well as a swift mobile app. They have recently released two innovative apps, Do Button and Do Note. They are fantastic too.

Bonus 1 - Any.do

An all-in-one to-do manager. The app spots a neatly designed minimalist and intuitive UI.


Undoubtedly, the best way to plan tasks.

Bonus 2 - Evernote

If we’re talking about noting down matters, then there’s no way Evernote could go unnoticed. You take any device – phone, tablet, desktop. It works across all the devices flawlessly.


I take notes of college labs, collect web articles, photos, set reminders, all with Evernote. I’ve maintained a list of all the movies I’ve seen till now in Evernote. If you’re interested, here’s the full list. I have the same list of books I read too.

A strong competitor to Evernote is Google Keep. Keep is a lightweight alternative by Google. The app is slick and handy for quick notes, worth a shot.

Google Keep

That’s pretty much I do to log my life! I enjoy the statistics I get from the observations. It allows me to have a self-look, analyze my doings and plan the day efficiently. Prominently, it encourages me to be a better human being.

Drop me a message if you’ve found this post interesting and had a thought of trying it out for one time. Believe me or not, this one habit will have a profound effect in your life for sure!

Go ahead and express your thoughts in the comments. 🙂

  1. Reply


    June 20, 2017

    Hi, this is a very good post. I started keeping track of my expenses when I moved out of home for higher studies too 🙂 I have been using the wallet app by budgetbakers.com.
    Also I have found the Journey app to write a diary entry every day better than Diaro because of the free sync across platforms. It is also kind of lightweight and has more intuitive UI than Diaro.

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      June 20, 2017

      Hi Chaitanya,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words. 🙂

      I used Journey app for a while. Agree with you, it’s lightweight.

      I chose Diaro because of its feature richness. Tagging, Categorization, Export, Web support…I found all the features I needed so went ahead. I use Diaro Pro though.

      Never heard about Wallet app. Thanks for suggesting, let me check.

  2. Reply


    July 18, 2016

    I just want to mention I am beginner to blogging and really liked you’re web blog. Probably I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly have amazing stories. With thanks for revealing your web-site.

  3. Reply


    July 6, 2016

    The article is worth reading, I like it very much. I will keep your new articles.

  4. Reply


    April 30, 2016

    Cool tips. Will try 1 and 2.

  5. Reply

    Gerardo Gaertner

    October 27, 2015

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  6. Reply


    March 23, 2015

    Your article is very nice…and very interesting too.
    But I want to know about your book list ???

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 23, 2015

      Thank you, Anky! I’m preparing the list here: . The work is in progress, you can come back in a week or two, to read the complete list.

      • Reply


        March 23, 2015

        Ohk fine..Thanks!!!
        Carry on…… 🙂
        *******GOOD JOB*******

  7. Reply

    karan shah

    March 22, 2015

    So interesting..good work bro

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 23, 2015


  8. Reply

    Jatayu Baxi

    March 21, 2015

    Good one. I would give it a title : “An Engineer’s way to track Life” !! I also started writing diary ( MS word ) few years back, but as you said to keep it continue is difficult Job.

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 21, 2015

      Thank you, sir! It’s difficult, I can confirm. But, once the practice turns into a habit, it’s easy to keep up.

  9. Reply


    March 21, 2015

    Nice article bro! Any tips to keep things going ‘this’ way after an ambitious start would be very helpful. 🙂

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 21, 2015

      Ha ha!
      Tip #1/1: Just do it! No hard tricks.

  10. Reply

    Raj Kundalia

    March 21, 2015

    I just started writing diary few months back, it helps a lot, I mean it feels good to express yourself at the end of the day.
    Plus you don’t have to disturb people to listen to you :p

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 21, 2015

      Agree with you.

      Can you share your method to write diary and track expenses?

  11. Reply

    mayur paladiya

    March 20, 2015

    Nice article @ good job Darpan @ i agree with sahil…

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 20, 2015

      Kind of you, Mayur!

  12. Reply

    Bhavya Gandhi

    March 15, 2015

    Superb article !!! I followed in these things :
    Diary,Expense,Novel,Blood donation list
    Thanks man !!!

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 23, 2015

      That’s great! You read many books, try to keep a log of them too.

  13. Reply

    sahil pandith

    March 15, 2015

    Well after reading this i think that ‘darpan’ can be used as synonym for ‘punctuality’ and ‘discipline’.

    • Reply

      Darpan Dodiya

      March 15, 2015

      Ha ha! That’s great complement for me Sahil. 🙂


Darpan Dodiya
Raleigh, NC, USA

Hi! I'm Darpan. 24 yr old Software Engineer, now pursuing Masters in Computer Science at NC State University, USA. This is my personal blog to share my interests in travelling, photography, programming and life. Glad to see you here, have a look around the website, you'll enjoy. Drop a comment or reach out to me or get connected via links below. Have a good day! :)