How I used IFTTT to Create a Daily Journal in Google Drive!

I have been in one form or another keeping a journal/diary for years. I have tried using a Moleskine notebook, Evernote, Springpad, a saved draft in Gmail, a text file in Dropbox. The common thread is that I need my journal to be easily accessible for me to write, but private enough to feel confident it won’t be read by prying eyes. I trust Gmail with all my private emails, and Google Calendar with all the events in my life. So, why not use the password protected service that I know and love to keep a journal?

With a bit of monkeying around, I figured out a new way to simply set up a daily journal using some of Google’s services and the power of IFTTT! If you don’t have an IFTTT account, you need to get on board now! It is the bestest thing ever. No lie. I’ve written before about the power of IFTTT.

This is the idea behind my new journal experiment…

First off, I create an event within Google Calendar. To make the IFTTT trigger work, you need to put in a time for the event. Just select a time in the future (like 10 minutes from the time you will be writing the entry).

Calendar

Next, I create the trigger in my IFTTT account.

IFTTT   My Recipes

You will need to activate your Google Calendar and Google Drive channels. If you are familiar with IFTTT, it is REALLY easy to do…

I customized my recipe to look for a calendar entry with the keyword “Journal”. That way when IFTTT has the recipe look, I don’t get all my other Google Calendar entries inside my journal. Who wants a back up of ‘garbage day’ or ‘pay day’??

IFTTT   Recipe

What this recipe does is look for the keyword Journal, and it creates a new text document within my Google Drive account. I have the title of the entry be “Journal with Today’s Date and Time”. That way I can go back in time via a search to read my past journal entries.

Once the trigger is set up, and you have done a journal entry, here is what you will see within Google Drive.

Journal   Google Drive

If there is one thing I want in a journal, it is that I don’t have to think about it. With this new recipe, I have Google Calendar keep a record of my journal and now I have a text document backup within Google Drive thanks to IFTTT! Isn’t that what they call a win-win?

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My 1 year Anniversary with RTM! My thoughts on our relationship.

Source: http://bit.ly/bamnMI

Today I renewed my yearly license as a Remember the Milk Pro user. Over the years software has come and gone and I have shelled out my fair share to developers…Very few of them gave me the value that Remember the Milk does. I know loads of people check out my review of RTM vs Nozbe vs Nirvana, so I thought I would take a minute to write about my experience. Here are my thoughts on what Remember the Milk has done for me this last year, and where I want to see it go from here. Continue reading “My 1 year Anniversary with RTM! My thoughts on our relationship.”

Love and Hate my ‘Book of all Things’ [GTD]

My Messy Moleskine
Image by Alexandre Dulaunoy via Flickr

A few weeks ago I decided to try something new. I set up my handy dandy Moleskine notebook as my GTD capture tool. I was inspired by reading about how great writing down my tasks would be. After reading Stever Robbins’ book ‘9 Steps to Work Less and Do More‘, and specifically his chapter on technology, I thought I would give paper based ToDo lists a shot. I understand David Allen uses paper as his capture system as well. Both these organizational leaders are far smarter than me.

How did I fair? What were my impressions? Continue reading “Love and Hate my ‘Book of all Things’ [GTD]”

My GTD-Moleskine experiment. The set-up…

Moleskine Retro PDA Part1
Image by mrmole via Flickr

I have been slowly(yes,very slowly) reading Stever Robbins book, ‘9 Steps to Work Less and Do More’. Part of the book tackles our assumption the technology makes us more efficient. This is the third time in the last month that I have read about some of the inefficiencies with computers where our memory is concerned. Stever suggests doing your ToDo lists on paper and using an online calendar for tasks with a due date. Funny, though I have been using Remember the Milk as my all in one GTD and calendar solution, David Allen also eludes in his book Getting Things Done, that he uses old fashioned ‘paper’ for his lists. That’s two productivity authors that seem to think writing things down has some merit. Lifehacker also just posted an article about why we learn more effectively writing than typing. Continue reading “My GTD-Moleskine experiment. The set-up…”

How do you beat Procrastination?

Mozilla calendar
Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I mentioned that I got to Step 3 of Stever Robbin’s book ‘9 Steps to Work Less and Do More’. How did I do it? Well, I read Step 2. lol. It is all about procrastination.  Much like looking at my projects with GTD, Stever suggests breaking up larger projects that you are procrastinating on into smaller chunks. He calls them using ‘Baby Chunks’. He is quite funny. lol. You should read his book 😉 Continue reading “How do you beat Procrastination?”

What GTD system do you use? Are you Consistent?

Moleskine notebook and diaries.
Image via Wikipedia

I started reading David Allen’s book on Getting Things Done just over a year ago now. Yes, I finished…It was an eye opening book for me. You should get a copy(or PDF…) and see if it helps you get organized…One of the biggest things I took away from his book was that if you write EVERYTHING down, or in my case put it in Remember the Milk, it does one thing I was unprepared for…It takes away stress. Big time! I was always forgetting things, and stressing that I was forgetting something, which made me forget things… It wasn’t because I had a bad memory. It is because I had(and still have sometimes) so much to remember and concentrate on. One thing I realized is that I was trying to subconsciously remember things that weren’t important to me! Now when I do a weekly review/recap, I have peace of mind in deleting or archiving things that I know I will never do, or have been sitting around for a while. I also have a huge @someday/maybe list. haha. I like to ask myself what the next action step is. That helps keep a task or project on track…

How it started for me was that I had decided I needed to get a better organization system when I changed careers and became a mobile mortgage specialist. I wasn’t in the office anymore. I was always on the road, answers phone calls, meeting people, building a network of contacts and generally getting myself known in the area I served. The problem I came across was how heavily I previously relied on Outlook to remind me of my work obligations. My personal life had no place at my office as well. At least from a remembering stuff to do perspective. I relied on Google Calendar and Gmail to remind me of my personal tasks. I would set a date something was due, or email myself and hopefully achieve it on that day. But that didn’t help with those moments where my fiancee would give me a few errands to run on the way home, or I didn’t have access to a computer. If I didn’t have Google Calendar to key it in and I wasn’t in the office when something would come up for work that I needed to remember, then I scrambled to remember it some other way. Scrap pieces of paper were all over the place.  And, I lost them.

GTD converted this thinking for me. My life is not two or three different and distinct entities. I needed a single reliable place to put everything! I  was attracted to that idea from a personal project a few years back  on getting all my loose paper into an electronic database. I bought a fantastic application for the Mac called Devonthink Pro Office. It is a great application! But it didn’t work as an organizing my current tasks tool. I used to use Omniweb as my main browser for years, and started reading about Omnifocus. They introduced me to GTD! Thanks OmniGroup! At the time I listened to quite a few podcasts. One site that I have followed for a while is 43folders.com by Merlin Mann. I used to listen to him on the Twit podcasts. He has some great ideas on how to become more organized and had mentioned Getting Things Done…

Some of my biggest challenges with keeping on the wagon for me? Remembering to do a weekly review, and giving myself a self-imposed due date for a task when there isn’t one. It’s not so much that I don’t review things, it’s just that I get a few too many irons in the fire, and need to do a better job scheduling the weekly review.  I do miss writing my To Do lists like ‘in the old days’. From my understanding, David Allen doesn’t even use technology to keep himself organized. He uses a notebook. Just the other day, I read how some people use Moleskine notebooks for Getting Things Done! Really cool…I have a Moleskine notebook(or two), and if I didn’t use RTM, I would probably look at this hack…

What system are you using to keep your sanity? Do you think GTD is a good way to stay organized and REALLY get things accomplished? Has anyone used a different system than David Allen’s? What works for you?

RTM vs Nozbe vs Nirvana. The best GTD Solution?

UPDATE – I’ve been using Remember the Milk for a year now. Check out my latest post about what I’ve liked about using RTM this last year, and what I’d like to see get changed. My 1 year Anniversary with RTM! My thoughts on our relationship…

There has been quite a lot of Web-based To-Do lists managers launched in the last couple of years. I blame the iPhone for this trend! It is a good trend in my opinion. I have been using a few Getting Things Done(GTD) apps this year to see what works best for me. I started by using Nozbe, then for a few reasons(not just that I am the curious type), I started trying out Remember the Milk(RTM), Nirvana, using Gmail as a GTD solution, and finally I have experimented with Evernote. I have written a few articles on the site about my initial impressions on these. Check them out when you have some time…I have been using three on a consistent basis the last couple of months, and wanted to share with you my thoughts on the experience.

The 3 main contenders are: Remember the Milk, Nozbe, & Nirvana.

Here is a small list of the criteria I am looking for in a good, always accessible To-Do List Manager. In no particular order…

  1. It has got to work in the most common web browsers. Yes, IE included…
  2. It has got to have a functional iPhone interface!
  3. It has got to be affordable. Money Talks baby…
  4. It has to be able to remind me of the shit I need to remember without me thinking about it.
  5. Does it work(whether designed that way or hacked) as a true GTD solution?
  6. Is the User Interface cluttered or easy to understand and use?

OK, not a small lists of demands, so let’s see how they faired. Continue reading “RTM vs Nozbe vs Nirvana. The best GTD Solution?”