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.

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.

With a desire to have more meaningful metrics, I’ve turned to a variety of technologies for life journaling. Complete solutions, such as FitBit for health tracking, provide a complete framework of a website, online charting, storage of historic data, mobile apps, fitness tracking monitors, and databases of nutrition information. All these combined in a single system make it easier to track the quality of nutrition, exercise, and sleep one gets. That’s just one example of how these new technologies can be much more effective than simply writing notes in a paper binder. The raw data can be depicted in chart format over time to show trends.

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.
  • Goodreads – Keep track of all the books you have read or plan to read.
  • Instagram – Share and journal using photos and written text.
  • IMDB – Keep track of all the movies you’ve watched or plan to watch, then share with friends.
  • Mint – Track all your expenses in real-time with zero effort.
  • Neat – Scan every receipt, note, and scrap of paper instantly in real-time. They are processed with advanced OCR technology that makes them searchable later.
  • 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.
  • Yelp – Document the restaurants and businesses you interact with, and share reviews with friends.

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