I started journaling at a young age. For many years, in the 1970s, I kept handwritten journals. Starting in the early 1980s, I began using digital journaling with a Tandy Model 100 (one of the first portable computers available) and then desktop computers as those became available. I’ve also used photography and music as media-based landmarks along life’s journey.

Life Timeline Spreadsheet

A spreadsheet can be a helpful tool to create a summary overview of life events and details. For example, each row can represent a month. Cell entries in columns across the page can indicate current job, body weight, place of residence, etc. In that way, scrolling down the page you can see major life changes.

Note Taking for Work

Because of the consulting work I do, journaling and documenting along the way is almost a necessity, especially for billing clients. I like to provide people with detailed notes and documentation of the work I’ve done. This type of daily note taking has become a good habit and practice.

Automated Journaling

There are a variety of smartphone apps and devices that can automatically provide some journaling. For example, there are GPS apps that will automatically map every location you visit, tracking motion from one location to another and detecting when you have left and reached each location. Once locations have been labeled, repeat visits will remember the identified location. Some smartwatch health tracking functions can identify activities, such as when you fall asleep or when you are exercising.

Journal Tools

Other similar services are available for tracking any number of things in life. Here are some examples:

  • Eternity Time Log – Keeps track of all your activities during the day, including billable time, and displays visually or in spreadsheet format. [View]
  • Goodreads – Keep track of all the books you have read or plan to read. [View]
  • Instagram – Share and journal using photos and written text. [View]
  • IMDB – Keep track of the movies you’ve watched or plan to watch, then share with friends. [View]
  • Mint – Track all your expenses in real-time with zero effort. [View]
  • Photos – Apple and Android smartphones can build a timeline of your photos.
  • Scan – Printers with scanner capabilities, and smartphone scanner apps, can help digitize, organize, and store paper documents.
  • SoundHound – Keep track of any song you hear. The mobile app recognizes the song, makes a note of when you heard it and where you were. You can go back in history to find a song you heard a year ago. [View]
  • Yelp – Document the restaurants and businesses you interact with, and share reviews with friends. [View]

These tools and others make it possible to collect, store, and understand your life data – mostly with little or no effort.

Document History

  • 8 Jul 2022 — This page has been converted from a single WordPress Classic editor block to the new block layout modules. Section added to describe spreadsheet journaling, note taking for work, and automated journaling. Removed reference to Neat Receipts service. Added mention of Photos as a journaling method. Replaced all http links with https equivalents. List items originally had the subject as a link. These are now formatted as bold text. Link text is displayed as [View] at the end of each list item when applicable.
  • 29 Jan 2014 — Original post created.