Call me crazy, but I like to know where I’ve been at different points in my life. Im not talking just on a macro scale either, im talking day by day, hour by hour, where was I and what was I doing on this date, 2 years ago. Why? Its pretty simple, I like to relive days of old whenever the mood strikes. Its fun for me to open up my calendar or Evernote timeline and look back at a date and say “Oh ya, I remember this”. Once you open the box you never know what you might do with it, or where it’ll lead you. Perhaps you come across a dinner you had with an old friend a year ago and seeing the record of it leads you to get back in touch? The possibilites are endless, though for the sake of this article we’re going to focus on how you can automate (mostly) the process of documenting your life.
To get started you’re going to need three things: IFTTT account, Swarm account, Evernote account, and a Google account (optional). Once you’ve got those things we can dive into the process of documenting your life.
Step 1 – Funnel Swarm Checkins to Evernote Automatically
The first step in this process is to head over to IFTTT and setup a recipe for taking your Swarm (formerly FourSquare) checkins and turning them into Evernote notes. Doing this is simple. First click on the “Create” button in the top right hand corner of IFTTT. Once you’re on the create a recipe page you want to first select the trigger which in this case is a FourSquare checkin (they haven’t changed it to Swarm, but it still works, I promise.) Once you’ve got that selected its time to create an action. For this I choose to make an Evernote note that goes into a “Timeline” notebook. The note includes everything that IFTTT puts in there automaticlally with the checkin. At this point you’re pretty much ready to rock and roll.
If you want, you can also elect to create another recipe for storing these checkins as events on your Google calendar. If you’re someone like me who has their Sunrise calendar app open all day, it can be nice to see where you’ve been, at a glance.
Step 2 – Checkin everywhere you go
This is pretty self explanatory but if you don’t do it then you won’t get very much out of what we did in step 1. The point here is that no matter where you go, how long you’re there for, or what you’re doing, you should be checking in using Swarm. I checkin if im buying a light bulb from Lowe’s, just as I do if im having a graudation celebration dinner wth my family. It all goes back into my notebook.
One important thing that I like to do when checking in is to provide plenty of context. In Swarm you’re able to add a description, do it. Write down who you’re with, what you’re doing, what is the occasion? Doing this will make step 3 a lot more enjoyable.
Step 3 – Review the data every so often
This last step isn’t really much of a science, its more of a personal preference. Every so often its nice to look back and see where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. I dont have a set schedule for looking over this stuff, but id say that about once a month ill do a review of the past 30 days or so. basically a step by step introduction to how I go about logging all of the events that take place in my life. How do you do it? Is their something I forgot? Let me know!