We live in a fast-paced world where planning for the future has become second nature to us. Google Calendar has been our trusty companion in scheduling upcoming events, meetings, and gatherings. But what if I told you that you’re missing out on an incredible aspect of it that could add a touch of mindfulness and introspection to your life? Yes, I’m talking about using Google Calendar to log events that have already happened – like a personal journal of your life.
Life logging should be retrospective, not just proactive
Now, before you raise an eyebrow and click away, hear me out. I’ve previously discussed how adding emojis to your Calendar events can make them more glanceable and personable. This new idea takes that a step further, inviting you to log events as they occur (or shortly thereafter – at the end of each day at the latest). Think of it as a digital diary, but one that not only helps you reminisce about the past but also empowers you to make informed decisions about your life moving forward. Honestly, this is a lost art that I feel strongly about.
So, how do you turn your ordinary Google Calendar into a journaling powerhouse? Start by adding events beyond just business meetings. Use it to track your personal goals and achievements that recur and aren’t necessarily tied to big pre-planned events.
How to “Lifelog” with Google Calendar
Take, for example, logging your food intake. While a small change, it encourages mindfulness about what you put into your body, which is arguably much more important. Through this process, you’ll discover patterns in your eating habits and develop healthier choices as a result – no calorie counting needed!
But it’s not just about food; extend this practice to other aspects of your life too. Did you have a fantastic family outing over the weekend? We went swimming earlier this month and I thought that was memorable since we don’t get to do so very often. Maybe you binge-watched Suits or Shameless – Jot it down in your “journal”. It may seem trivial, but these seemingly insignificant entries contribute to the bigger picture of your life, and most people live their day-to-day life without having any sense of perspective on what they did or experienced.
Pro Tip: Create separate calendars for each type of lifelogging “journal” entry. One for food, one for your car, one for Fitness. Other examples include housework, money (like when bills are due or when you get paid), leisure, or things you do with others (relationships). You’ll need to create these from the desktop web app.
Some of you might recall the old-school concept of “life logging” that never really took root in its original form. We used to be obsessed with document our daily experiences and emotions, but that quickly fizzled out in favor of the hustle and bustle. We’re often too focused on the external aspects of our lives that answer the who, what, when, where and how and we miss out on the introspection that answers the most important question of our lives – “why?”
You can still plan your day in advance
Now, I’m not suggesting that you ditch your regular Google Calendar usage altogether – far from it. Continue scheduling your future engagements, as that’s essential, especially if you own a business. Instead, I’m just suggesting you complement it with this new approach. Think about your Calendar differently for a few weeks and tell me in the comments how it worked out for you. If nothing else, it feels a bit fun, but you’d probably have to be obsessed with planning, organization and note taking like I am. To make the most of this approach, switch your Calendar to “Schedule” view. Suddenly, it’s like scrolling through a collection of colorful, timestamped journal entries.
I keep talking about how much I love the “Bullet Journal” practice by Ryder Carroll, but how I wanted to take tasks, events, thoughts, and more and digitize them in a format that flows around my life – this is part of it. When you take time to sit down and reflect on your life daily or at least weekly by scrolling through your digital journal, you’ll find valuable insights. It’s kind of like having shower thoughts without the expensive water bill or being pensive under a constant “stream” of consciousness. You might see where you’ve been slacking on your goals or discover hidden roadblocks to overcome that can help you grow as an individual.
Reflection is as important as planning
Journaling this way can help you appreciate the small joys in life too We often rush through our days, focused on future commitments and deadlines. Logging those little moments of happiness can create a tangible record of the good times to look back on. During challenging times, you can turn to these entries as a source of inspiration and gratitude (pair this with Google Keep for your thoughts, Google Tasks for your todos, and Google Photos for your visual memories! Together, they all make a sort of “journal”)
I feel it’s important to at least mention that you won’t need to log everything religiously. Not only would that be annoying and time consuming, it wouldn’t be possible. Life is full of experiences, and you simply can’t capture them all. Again, the focus is on capturing just what allows you to improve your life through reflection and consideration. This can change over time, and you can take breaks whenever you’d like.
Our phones are ever present and always in our hands, so if you just can’t put it down, why not incorporate it into your life for healthier habits? Beside that, letting your Calendar become a reflection of your life, your goals, and your cherished memories can remind you that life isn’t just a series of scheduled events; it’s a collection of meaningful experiences waiting to be appreciated. Okay, getting off of my soap box now – try it out! It’s not for everyone, but you’ll never know if you don’t give it a shot.