How are you digitally keeping tracking of your memories and activities?
June 10, 2019 4:25 PM   Subscribe

How are you logging and tracking your memories? One app? Lots of apps? Swarm? A journaling App like Day One? Instagram? A mix of apps? Evernote? Something else? What works for you? What would you recommend?
posted by andoatnp to Technology (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I set up a Google Form that writes to a (Google) Sheet with Date, Category, and Event Name as fields. I suppose I could add a notes field. Right now, my categories are like Travel, Medical, Life Event and Misc. I keep separate lists of books read (goodreads) and movies seen (IMDB).
posted by soelo at 5:11 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]

I'm very interested to see what other people do for this because I still feel like I haven't found a perfect solution.

I use DayOne mostly. I am very annoyed that there's no PC version. But I recently got an Apple Watch, and that makes the capture of small details a little easier, if you're in a position where you can say things out loud.

It also has a check-in button that just records your location, which this Swarm thing you linked reminds me of.
posted by JDHarper at 5:20 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]

Before I used to use Swarm for entity-locations and drop "pins" with Twitter location.

Now I know I have most of this in Google Maps, as I enable location tracking. It's very useful for lookups like "when did I go to that library?"

That and Google Calendar probably cover it? At work I use my sent emails as proxy for "what was I thinking that day".
posted by batter_my_heart at 5:35 PM on June 10

I use OneNote. One notebook for the year, sections for each month, a page per day. I write what I did that day and include any photos/drawings/images I want to keep. In terms of activities, I track restaurants I've been to in Foursquare, books I've read in Goodreads, and movies/TV in But that's for organizational capabilities and tracking places I want to go/books I want to read/movies I want to see. I always mention "read more of x" or "went to x for lunch" or "watched x" in my journal, so if I didn't want the organizational capabilities for "what am I in the mood for"/recommendations/to-check-out lists, I'd probably leave it at just using OneNote.

I also use thelittlememory app, which forces me to distill my day down into the most important/memorable items, and then gives me regular reminders of what happened yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, three years ago, etc. OneNote is for keeping a detailed record, thelittlememory is for capturing the feel of a day. (Tip: if you miss a day and don't catch it in the 'what do you want to remember yesterday?' box, you can go to the calendar in the website and fill in any days you've missed.)
posted by brook horse at 7:18 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]

I use goodreads to keep track of my reading (the sight of the book cover often brings back additional memories of the period during which I read it) and a tumblr blog for the occasional journal entry. Facebook can show me the events I clicked "attend" on, which gives an approximation of my social calendar. It's all very spotty, because I'm not terribly consistent about journaling, and I've noticed that my weeks and years start to bleed into each other somewhat. I will be reading other people's answers with great interest.
posted by sohalt at 1:54 AM on June 11

Whatever solution you choose, if you care about having those memories for the long term, the only real solution is to store them on your own hard disk. You must regularly make offsite backups and sometimes do work to keep things updated to current formats.

All the websites mentioned in this thread (yes, every single one of them, even Facebook) will have deleted your data or disappeared entirely in 10 or 20 years time. Maybe you'll find out when they announce they're pulling the plug and then have time and energy to react, maybe you won't.

I use "Print to PDF" to save copies of web pages that have information I want to keep for the future. That's been a good thing to do because most of the ones I have saved are no longer accessible. Sometimes I take screenshots and feed them into my system for saving photos.

I also download copies of videos and photos that I want to save. Recently a friend bought me a very fancy dinner to thank me for giving him a copy of a beautiful video that he made several years ago that he thought he had lost forever. He thought he had it preserved because he had uploaded it to YouTube, but one day they permanently deleted it for a copyright violation on the background music he had used. Find a good downloader for your favorite sites. And download your Metafilter activity from your "Edit Profile" page; one day even this place won't be around anymore.
posted by fuzz at 3:35 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]

If you're regularly taking pictures, tweeting, posting to instagram/facebook etc... then you might be interested in Timehop. Open it up once a day and it'll show you what happened 1yr, 2yr, 3yr+ for however long you have data in those other apps. Not a good way of keeping track in and of itself, but a neat way of looking back on stuff you've previously kept track of.
posted by Grither at 5:03 AM on June 11

IDoneThis which sends me an email everyday (frequency can be changed) and which can be exported into a csv file. About once i year i save my export to my own drive.

Letterboxd for movies, Pinterest for books.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 6:34 AM on June 11

I track everything in Excel. I create one workbook for each year, and then I break it out as follows:

- a tab for events with separate columns for world events, personal events, work events.
- a tab for books read with separate columns for author, title, genre, rating, and comments
- a tab for TV shows and movies watched with columns for genre, season, rating, and comments
- a tab for recipes tried with columns for location of recipe and rating
- a tab for albums listened to with columns for artist, title of album, genre, year, and comments

I think Google sheets would work as well.

I really like this because it's all in one place (except for photos). So I can go back and connect the dots: "Oh, no wonder I feel so low, I've just had three months previous of heavy stress."

Of course, it's easy to add other tabs for other info that you'd like to track.
posted by Amy NM at 9:14 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]

This wouldn't work for referencing memories over the long term, but for short term remembering, I use OmniFocus. I create lists for my future self to remember and I tag them "Note to Self." For example, here's a list where I'm tracking why I checked out various books from the library.
posted by 10ch at 5:06 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]

Google Photos, Calendar and Maps. Also Bullet Journalling per the Ryder Carroll book when I remember - not digital but you could do it anywhere. Evernote searches well.
posted by lokta at 12:52 AM on June 12

You might be interested in JamBios - it's a way to collect your memories and also invite others to contribute. You can still keep certain things totally private, but I think it's a neat way to get input from others about the 4th of July picnic or anniversary or whatever.

I use it with my work team for when we travel together and want to share photos/stories so everyone can see them.
posted by Twicketface at 8:29 AM on June 12

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