a command-line tool for keeping tallies
Last updated a year ago by mgeduld .
MIT · Repository · Bugs · Original npm · Tarball · package.json
$ cnpm install tlly 
SYNC missed versions from official npm registry.


A command-line tool for keeping tallies.


npm install -g tlly

About tlly

My Life with Tallies

I've always kept tallies. I've done this for both practical and obsessive reasons.

Practical: if I keep track of how many times I've exercised or meditated, I find willpower. Simply making tick-marks on a piece of paper increases my stamina. Sure, this is silly. But what's life without magical thinking?

Obsessive: I like to count. I count all the times my cat has taken bites out of the sofa (47), the number times I've forgotten my wallet (16), the days that have elapsed since I promised I'd clean out the garage (129), and so on.

Pointless and a little off-kilter? Yup. Good thing I also tally home many times I've taken my meds! (I kid, I kid.)

Thanks, Jerry!

Jerry Seinfeld (Yes, that Jerry Seinfeld) invented a super-simple productivity system. Each day that he worked on his act, he made an X through that day's calendar entry--with the goal of never breaking the chain of Xes.

Seinfeld's method has become my willpower superpower! Instead of a calendar, I just increase a count. First day of meditation = 1, second day = 2, third day = 3... I think of it as my score.

But if, after ten days (with a score of 10), I get lazy and skip a day of meditation, my score goes back to zero. The prospect of which fills me with such existential dread, I meditate even if I have the flu or have to yank myself away from binge-watching reruns of "Sex in the City".

For years, I've wanted a simple command-line tool for keeping tallies. Not GTD. Not a todo app. Something much mure simpler--something I can use almost without thinking. I searched, found nothing suitable, heard Gleb's say "Do a project," and built it myself.


By default, tallies are stored in .tllydb.json in your home directory. If you'd like to store them elsewhere (such as in your Dropbox folder), edit [your home directory]/.tlly-config.json, setting dbLocation to whatever directory you want. (Please use the full path.)


tlly --help displays the text of "War and Peace." Just kidding. It displays help.

tlly exercise 5 adds 5 to your exercise tally, creating the tally if it doesn't exist.

tlly exercise adds 1 to the exercise tally.

tlly adds 1 to the most recent tally.

tlly -c exercise displays the current total for exercise.

tlly -c displays the current totals for all of your tallies.

tlly -t exercise displays all the changes to exercise, sorted by timestamp.

tlly -t displays all changes to all tallies, sorted by timestamp.

tlly --delete exercise deletes the exercise tally. If you then do tlly exercise, you start over at 1.

tlly -s exercise displays how many contiguous days leading up to today you've exercised. ("s" is for Seinfeld!)

tlly -s displays the number contiguous days leading up to today for all tallies.

tlly exercise 2018-06-31 timestamps a tally with a specified date (ISO format).

Testing Contiguous Tallies

When you're first playing with tlly, you may want to try out Seinfeld mode, but it's not much fun until you'll done something for a few days and then, perhaps, skipped a day.

So run tlly --demo, which will add _exercise _mediation to your tallies, setting both to 9, as if you'd been exercising and meditating for 9 days. (The underscores are to keep them from messing up existing tallies with the names "exercise" and "meditation".)

If you then run tlly -c you'll see 9 for both.

But if you run tlly -s you'll see that _meditation has been reset to zero. To see why, run tlly -t. As you'll see, you skipped a couple of days of meditating.

How un-Zen of you!


$ tlly --demo
Added tally _exercise
Added tally _meditation
$ tlly -c
_exercise: 9
_meditation: 9
$ tlly -s
_exercise: 9
_meditation: 0
tlly -t
_exercise: 1 (Sat, 04 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Sun, 05 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Mon, 06 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Tue, 07 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Wed, 08 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Thu, 09 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Fri, 10 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Sat, 11 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_exercise: 1 (Sun, 12 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)

_meditation: 1 (Thu, 02 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Fri, 03 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Sat, 04 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Sun, 05 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Mon, 06 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Tue, 07 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Wed, 08 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Thu, 09 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
_meditation: 1 (Fri, 10 Aug 2018 23:50:26 GMT)
$ tlly _exercise 100
_exercise: 109
$ tlly _exercise
_exercise: 110
$ tlly
_exercise: 111
$ tlly
_exercise: 112
$ tlly _meditation
_meditation: 10
$ tlly
_meditation: 11
$ tlly insomnia
insomnia: 1
$ tlly
insomnia: 2
$ tlly --delete _exercise
$ tlly -c
_meditation: 11
insomnia: 2


npm run build


npm test


This app uses lowdb, because most of my work involves heavy-lifter DBs, such as postgres. I wanted to tlly try-something-different.

Todo for MVP

  • [x] get, parse, command-line arguments
  • [x] add help
  • [x] add new tallies
  • [x] increment/decrement tallies
  • [x] display tally counts
  • [x] delete tally
  • [x] display tally by date
  • [x] display contiguous tallies
  • [x] add tally with arbitrary date
  • [x] add demo
  • [x] configure storage location (e.g. for dropbox)
  • [x] readme
  • [x] npm setup + publish

Todo Backlog

  • [] recalc contiguous after user adds arbitrary timestamp, which might have plugged a gap
  • [] display arbitrary list of tallies (tlly -c exercise meditation)
  • [] display tallies for a particular date
  • [] display tallies for a range of dates
  • [] allow days off for contiguous (e.g. weekends)
  • [] badges (e.g. when you exercise X number of contiguous days, you get praised)
  • [] due to lowdb bug, sync fails in some cases[1]. Maybe switch everything to async
  • [] optionally display recent contiguous tally as some sort of chain: xxxxx


Thanks, Gleb!

Your simple words "Do a project" made me finally do a project I'd procrastinated on for year. This is something I'll use every day.

Now please say "Clean out the garage!" My wife will thank you.

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