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My Daily Log in Evernote

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I love using Evernote. I use it to take notes, to keep information archived, and just generally to bring structure to my life. And I owe so much to other people — especially Jamie Todd Rubin — for opening my mind to the possibility of what Evernote can do. I love the way he has things automated, and while I’ve used or adapted several of his ideas, I had been looking for a central way to keep track of activities throughout each day. I like being able to go back to a specific day and seeing a summary of what I did for that day.

Trying out Placeme

One particular app that I used for quite a while on my iPhone was Placeme. The basic idea is that the app runs in the background of your iPhone and logs each place you visit, and then at the end of each day, you can have it send a summary of your day to a note in Evernote.

Placeme iPhone screenshots

Pros of using Placeme:

  • It works pretty well at automatically recognizing where you are
  • It allows you to “check in” to places manually
  • If you create any other Evernote notes while at a location, it will list those under that check-in in Evernote with links to the other notes, somewhat like an index.
  • It allows you to review and edit any incorrect check-ins before it syncs with Evernote
  • It doesn’t seem to drain the battery life of the phone

Cons of using Placeme

  • It doesn’t always get your location exactly correct. For example, if you regularly visit a restaurant that is next to a store, but one day visit the store, it will likely recognize you as being at the restaurant.
  • You have to remember to check and edit any incorrect check-ins before it syncs with Evernote at night, and I have enough to remember to do already.
  • Let’s be honest, there are some places I don’t want recorded, or just don’t need recorded every day (example: I know I go to work every day).

The Daily Log Idea

Then I saw E.C. Chang’s “Captain’s Log” recipes on IFTTT [which means “If This Then That”]. I immediately liked the idea, and decided to adapt it for my own use.

Create Daily Log at 05:00 AM

Create Daily Log in Evernote

Chang decided to refer to their note as a “Captain’s Log,” which I thought was witty, but I preferred the classic name of “Daily Log.” So everyday at 05:00 AM, a note is automatically created in my Evernote “Timeline” folder. The title of “Daily Log” is given to the note (important for when other actions are appended later), the words “DAILY LOG” and the current time are added in bold font at the top of the note, and the tags of “Log” and “IFTTT” are added to the note.

Append the Weather Forecast at 07:00 AM

Append weather forecast to Evernote

I like having the forecast for each day, including some details, so each day at 07:00 AM, IFTTT appends the weather forecast to my Daily Log in Evernote.

Append any Completed Tasks from iOS Reminders

Add completed iOS Reminders to Evernote

Whenever I complete a task that was created in iOS Reminders, I want it logged in Evernote. This recipe appends any completed task from iOS Reminders as a Completed Task in my Daily Log.

Append any Completed Tasks from Todoist

Add Todoist tasks to Evernote

I also use Todoist to keep track of tasks, and I want those completed tasks logged in Evernote. This recipe appends any completed task from Todoist as a Completed Task in my Daily Log.

Append any Foursquare Check-ins

Add Foursquare check-ins to Evernote

Since I needed something to replace my location monitoring that Placeme had provided, I went back to using Foursquare/Swarm to check in to locations on my iPhone. I really like that this recipe adds any Foursquare/Swarm check-ins to my Daily Log in Evernote, regardless of whether or not I’ve made the check-in “public” or “visible” to any friends. So now I can check in to any place that I care to keep track of, and add any notes to the check-in (for example, at a gas station, I like to note how much the gas cost per gallon, how much gas I put in to the vehicle, and what the total cost was), and know that it will be automatically logged in Evernote.

Append any Tweets, Retweets, or Replies

Append Twitter activity to Evernote

I use Twitter to not only keep in touch with friends, but it’s one of my best sources of good information. So I will frequently re-Tweet something that I think is of particular value. This recipe captures not only my own Tweets, but also any Retweets and Replies and appends them to my Daily Log in Evernote.

Append “favorited” Tweets

Append Twitter activity to Evernote

Sometimes I’ll like what someone says on Twitter, and while I don’t necessarily want to Retweet it, I do want to keep track of it for future reference. This recipe captures any Tweet that I mark as a favorite and appends them to my Daily Log in Evernote.

Append Facebook Posts

Add Facebook posts to Evernote

Facebook for me is a much more personal means of communication, and I frequently share funny things that my son says. I want a way to keep track of those, so this recipe appends any of my Facebook posts to my Daily Log in Evernote.

Non-Automated — my own thoughts and feelings

Dear Diary

The final component of my Daily Log is not automated — it’s simply taking time to write my own thoughts and feelings for the day, much like a diary. I’ve found that I like having this “diary” information in the same context as my other activities (social, travel, etc.).

That gives me a pretty completely view of my day, but I’m always open to suggestions. What about you? Do you have any ideas or good recipes to share?


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