Keeping a journal can be fun, but it’s hard sometimes to keep up with recording all your memories or important thoughts. Brilliant webapp automating service If This Then That (IFTTT) can create an automatic journal for you by archiving your events, pics, and social media posts to Evernote.
We’ve shown you how to use IFTTT previously. Setting up a new “recipe” (or instruction for the automated tasks) is simple: Select what the trigger is (eg., a Google Calendar event starts) and then an action to perform (eg., save to Evernote).
Here’s how you can create an automatic journal or log that backs up your tweets, calendar events, and more into a note in Evernote. (It’s kind of like Facebook’s timeline, but only for the stuff you want to see or remember — and without everyone else’s clutter.)
What You’ll Need
In my example, I’m saving calendar events from Google Calendar, Instagram photos I take, tweets from Twitter with the tag “#today,” and my Facebook status updates. For the services you want to back up, activate (i.e., link) them in IFTTT at the Channels page.
Step 1: Set Up Your Evernote Diary
In Evernote, create a new notebook called “Diary” or “Journal” or “Timeline” or whatever you want. This notebook will hold your running diary log in one note, which is called “Auto Journal”. (The note title is specified in the IFTTT recipe — you can change it to whatever you like.) When the note gets too big (over 2MB), IFTTT will create a new note in your Diary notebook.
You could set it up so all your status updates get inserted as separate notes in Evernote, but that might be too unwieldy.
Step 2: Create Your Recipes To Auto-Save Your Updates To Evernote
I’ve shared the recipes below, but here’s how they’re set up, in case you want to add additional services (eg., pull in all your Tumblr posts) or modify them.
Save Events From Google Calendar To Your Auto Journal Note
How it works: Whenever you add a calendar event to Google Calendar with the word “diary” somewhere in it, all the details of the event get appended to the Evernote “Auto Journal” note in your diary notebook.
For the “this” trigger, select Google Calendar and then the specific calendar you want IFTTT to monitor for events. Because I might not want all my calendar entries to go into my journal, I specified a search phrase “diary”. The event will be logged within 15 minutes of the event happening if that word is in the title, location, or description for an event.
For the “that” action, select Evernote. For the note title, I entered “Auto Journal” and for the notebook I specified “Diary”. Important: All of the recipes you want to append to the same note should have the same note title and notebook name.
IFTTT auto-fills in the note body — title, description, time, and link to the Google Calendar event.
The other recipes follow the same basic structure.
Save Instagram Photos To Your Auto Journal Note
How it works: Whenever you take an Instagram photo, it gets appended to the Evernote “Auto Journal” note in your diary notebook.
This recipe doesn’t have a lot to tweak. Just link your Instagram account and make sure the Evernote notebook title and note title are the same as the other recipes.
In the body of the note, you’ll get the image, plus the caption and creation date and time.
Save Your Tweets To Your Auto Journal Note
How it works: Whenever you tweet or re-tweet something with the hashtag “#today,” the tweet will get appended to the Evernote note.
In the body of the note, you’ll get the tweet text, link to the tweet, plus the creation date and time.
Save Your Facebook Status Updates To Your Auto Journal Note
How it works: Whenever you post a status update on Facebook, it’ll be appended to your Evernote “Auto Journal” note.
This is a straightforward recipe too. In the body of the note, you’ll get the status text and the creation date and time.
More Ideas For Auto Archiving Your Life
IFTTT is also great for backing up all your photos or photos of you that others have tagged. While you can send photos to Evernote as photo notes, you’d probably prefer to have them saved as actual images in place like Dropbox. See our instructions for getting digital doubles of all your photos.
Other things you might want to automatically back up include your WordPress or Posterous blog posts, your Foursquare log-ins, SMS messages, and so on. All Techie News has a good collection of links for these.
For more great IFTTT recipes and ideas, see our guide to supercharging all your webapps with If This Then That. (For an alternative to using IFTTT and Evernote, see previously mentioned Everyday.me for iOS. Commenters in that post noted that rolling our own version is a good idea.)