App requirement: Event logger

I’m hoping this hive mind can point me at some possible solutions to this requirement. I will describe my imagined perfect app but of course would be grateful for any suggestions on partial solutions.

It’s about health, but I don’t think the mechanisms I’m looking for need to be health specific. I basically want the means to quickly and easily log events so I can later return to the log and see a timeline of those events. Such app would have to be iPhone and/or Watch to capture events as they occur.

The key attributes of any event:

  • A timestamp, automatically generated when the event is logged. Bonus points if this can be edited afterwards for forgotten event logging.
  • Event types selectable from a list.
  • Tags selectable from a list.

That’s it. Ideally an event type could also encompass sub-types but I don’t even know how that would work so tags will do. Imagine the event is nausea and the tags could be weak, moderate, strong. Or the event is meal and the tags are salad, red meat, spicy. The tags don’t have to be specific to the event though, as strong could also apply to a pain event, for example.

Then I’d want to be able to look back through the timeline and filter it so I could see, for example, if nausea always follows red meat. This filtering would need to be fairly flexible to allow for this (definitely needs an OR option — red meat OR nausea would show that relationship).

Oh, and these are spurious examples for illustration only, I’m not throwing up or in pain! My ills are much more mundane. But annoying.

This seems like something that could be accomplished with a shortcut that records the information to something like a google sheet or Airtable. When you run the shortcut, it could give you a couple prompts for you to respond to and automatically time stamp your answers.

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This is interesting.
I found an app called HealthFace that purports to be an easy to use interface for entering and viewing data for the Health database.
I went exploring in the iOS Health app, and found there are a lot of variables that can be recorded. The category you might be interested in is Symptoms, which includes a lot of categories. This might be helpful to me in tracking and finding relationships for things too.

$1.99, and has Watch integration


Thanks, folks.

I had considered Shortcuts but an initial foray put me off. I’m not a heavy Shortcuts user and so have to “find my way” through a lot of its idiosyncrasies. It is a fallback though.

HealthFace looks very interesting. I did go spelunking in the Health app for the types of things it could record and didn’t find a great match up but will check this out. Seems like it’s worth having anyway.

Interesting. Apple’s approach to health seems very prescriptive. There are quite a few symptoms that are of use to me, but others I would want are simply not an option. I wish they would allow arbitrary logging of a set of basic named data types. And then there’s the other side. I can log amounts of sugars, fats, even fibre, but not that I had, for instance, dairy. It’s like they’re asking a chemist what to record instead of asking the questions a doctor or nurse would.

But within the limits that Apple sets, HealthFace is a pretty decent app. Fairly simple to set up on the iPhone if a little confusing to set up the watch.

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Yeah, a food log would be a nice feature.
It’s taken years to diagnose my dairy and chocolate (so far) allergies.

How about

I used to use it but then didn’t need it anymore.

Ooooh! That looks really interesting, thanks!

Thanks to @lsieverts I checked out Exist and it was really close to what I wanted. Well… as of tomorrow, it will be exactly what I wanted.

I just got a notification email that “Manual tracking” launches tomorrow.

We think this will be perfect for tracking subjective measures like energy and stress levels, symptoms and other health measurements, medications, and really anything you can quantify that we can’t automatically import for you . Even if you just want to track the number of coffees you drink each day, we’ve got it covered. Medication tracking is also one of our most popular suggestions, and manual tracking should be the perfect solution there too. You’ll be able to use our same 1-9 scale, quantities, time durations, percentages, and times of day. Tags won’t go away, you’ll just have the choice about whether to tag something or whether it deserves a number.

I’ll be looking into this right away!

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I was a ‘manual tracking’ beta tester for Exist and I really like this enhancement.

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I have been using Bearable for many years to track a semi-complicated medication regime that necessitates time stamps, and in the past, some mysterious low-grade symptoms. I believe it does exactly what you’re asking for :slight_smile: Including the correlations with symptoms etc. It’s really customisable too!

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Thanks, I will check that out too. I’ve not yet looked at the Exist updates (how dare work keep me busy :joy:) but at a glance it does not have the time stamping option which I’d really like.

I’m sharing my referral link because I love Exist and find it quite useful as a health tracker.

I have been thinking about logging (after something happened) as an alternative to habit tracking (something should happen) and wonder what you guys would like to track. I already read food, mood and as requirement that it needs editable timestamps.

I took a look at the latest version of Exist and could not find out how to log multiple occurrences of one thing on one day (say, 2 times meditation or 3 times eating an apple), so it felt not like a log but rather like a structured diary to me. Also, given their automatic tracking past, the manual logging still feels like an extra layer, not like the core (and that’s totally understandable, of course). I’m not interested in automation here and hence Exist still feels overloaded for the purpose.

If you could create an app of your wishes, which key/value things would you like to track? (Regardless of the UI, which can be tricky with the different key/values). I’ll start with those from Exist:

  • quantity (e.g. 2 coffees)
  • decimal (e.g. 13.5 kgs)
  • duration (e.g. 02:15 time in meetings)
  • percentage (e.g. 65% daily habits completed)
  • scale from 1-9 (e.g. 4/9 stress level)
  • time of day (e.g. 2:45 pm last had caffeine)

I also thought about the following

  • text label (e.g. weak, strong)
  • simple list (e.g. “apple,banana”)

Which other key/value would you think of? Something that could not be tracked with these proposed pairs?

You can track multiple events in a day in, but not multiple times. Thus, I can track how many coffees by incrementing an integer counter with every cup. But I cannot track when I drank them. For the When tracker, you only get one per day per item. Unless you do something funny like “time of first coffee” and “time of second coffee.”

For figuring out cause and effect situations, I want to log types of food, not quantities. So I would create an item “Dairy” for example, and mark that item, perhaps as a scale, for a given day. Separately, I would create “Stomach upset” also with a scale or quantity. Exist would then find out if Dairy and Stomach upset were related. That’s my theory anyway. I still need to have a good think about what to track and then actually set it up.

This is what the Exist folks had to say about the general problem of logging times, however.