Have you ever considered using Google Calendar to go back in time rather than forward? Google Calendar has some wonderful features to help you see what’s ahead. You can use those same features to see what’s happened over time. In short, turn Google Calendar into a Google “Diary”.
The calendar gives you multiple views, color-coding, and event details on dates at a glance. Use Google Calendar features to list goals you achieve, moods you experience, the foods you eat, and even bucket list items you complete.
Let’s set up Google Calendar to work as a journal app.
Create a New Calendar
While you can certainly use your main Google Calendar, creating a new one specifically for your journal items is a great option. This lets you see just that calendar when you want to or include it in your list of calendars for viewing all the time.
To quickly create a new calendar, click the Plus Sign on the left of your main screen next to Other Calendars and select Create New Calendar from the list. Then just give it a name, add a description, and include your time zone.
You can give your calendar its own unique color after you create it. On your main page, click the More (three-dot) button next to your new calendar and select a color. This will automatically color items you add, but you can still change the color for specific entries when you create them.
If you would like to see additional options for your new calendar, access your settings by clicking the Gear Icon at the top. Within the Settings page, select your calendar. There, you can share it with someone specific or obtain links to integrate it along with many other options.
Creating a new Google calendar is just one option. If you would rather not do that and simply use your main calendar instead, you can take advantage of the following event features for tracking.
Insert Entries as Events
To add a new item from the main Google Calendar screen, you can click the date for a quick entry. Then, if you want to add details, select More Options from the popup window.
Say you want to track your workouts after you complete them. You may not need a bunch of details, so a quick entry would work fine. Click the date for your workout, give it a title, and then uncheck the All Day option so that you can add the duration of your session. Then, hit Save.
Now, maybe you perform different types of workouts and want to list out the details. Either double-click the date or the Pencil icon to open the event detail page. You will enter the same basic information as with the quick entry, but now you can include a description.
You can use a bulleted or numbered list in the description area to track the exercises you did during your session. This is also a convenient spot to include notes about that specific workout. When you finish, click the blue Save button at the top.
Add Memorable Attachments
Let’s say you are using Google Calendar for your to-do list or bucket list, and you are ready to cross one item off it (good for you!). Wouldn’t it be awesome to include a photo or document of that momentous occasion?
Just access the event detail page as described above and scroll down to the Description area. Click the File Attachment button and then grab your file from Google Drive or upload one.
Maybe you were finally able to swim in the ocean, and your friend snapped a picture of you doing it. Or maybe you took that Alaskan cruise and would like to add a handful of photos from your trip. The handy file attachment feature lets you look back on what you have accomplished with more than just words. Pop in those pictures for fond remembrances.
Going back to school to obtain your degree or taking an online course to further your education might be other items on your bucket list. If you complete one of those, you can easily attach a scan of your degree on your graduation date or the certificate of completion you received via email.
Include Details as Descriptions
Using the description area within the event page is a terrific spot to include all of the details for your entry. And the Google Calendar journal gives you formatting options for that little extra.
As mentioned above, with the workout scenario, you can add a bulleted or numbered list. So if you are creating a food diary to keep an eye on what you eat, you can add your meals each day and include a list of what you ate for each one.
Maybe you would like to track specific health conditions. For instance, if you suffer from migraines, you can include details of your day in the description. Then, when you look back through those days where you suffered from the headaches, you could more easily spot trigger patterns.
Another ideal situation for using the description is if you use Google Calendar as your daily journal. Write your thoughts, use font formatting to make words pop out, include links, and add images. This area is perfect to quickly jot down what you would in an official digital diary.
What’s great about the description area is that when you want a quick view of your entry, those details are included. On your main calendar page, just click your event once, and you will see everything just as you entered it, formatting and all.
Use Color for Quick Viewing
The color-coding feature in Google Calendar is convenient for spotting things at a glance. You might use one color for your business events and another for personal ones. For journaling, you can also use the colors in a variety of ways.
For instance, maybe keeping track of your mood is important to your mental health. You can select colors for your entries so that when you view your mood tracking, it’s easy to tell at a glance how your week, month, or year went.
You could add an event and make the name your mood, such as happy, sad, or angry. Then use colors like yellow for happiness, blue for sad, and red for angry.
Another helpful use for color-coding is to identify entries when you only use one calendar. So, you could use yellow for your mood tracking entries, green for your workout entries, and purple for your bucket list entries.
To color your entries, just head to the event details page and select one from the dropdown box.
Invite or Share With Others
Just like inviting coworkers to meeting events or sharing calendars with them, you can do the same for shared journal items in Google Calendar. So, if you and a pal or your significant other are tracking the same things, sharing makes it super easy.
For example, if you and your buddy perform your workouts together for mutual motivation, inviting them to the entries works great. You can each add items to your calendar like mentioned above for workouts you do separately. But for those you do together, create the event entry as usual and invite your friend so it will appear on their calendar as well.
Head to the event details page and on the right side, click Email Guests. You can then either select a contact or type in their email address. Once you send the invitation, your recipient will receive it on their Google Calendar. This makes tracking workouts for both of you a breeze.
Say that you and your spouse are starting a new diet together. You may already share calendars with them, which makes it easy to keep track of what you each eat already. But if not, you can either share a current calendar with them or create a new one specifically for the food diary as described earlier.
When you share a calendar, each of you can track events easily. So, if you have meals separately, you can see what each other eats. And, for those you eat together, one person can just add the entry.
To share your Google calendar journal, go to the calendar settings page by clicking the More (three-dot icon) button next to it on your main page. Select Settings and Sharing. Under the calendar on the left, click Share with Specific People. Then, click Add People and select a contact or enter their email address.
Keep in mind that for a shared calendar, you can adjust the other person’s access before you share it. This allows them to only see events or have the ability to make changes.
Get Ready to Use Your Google Calendar Journal
As you can see, using Google Calendar as a work journal, personal diary, or simple tracker is easy to do. For health and fitness or lifetime goals and achievements, it’s terrific. Plus, you can even keep track of movies you watch, books you read, friends you meet, or money you spend.