LifeLogging via Calendar Application

Hello, I was wondering if anyone on this forum is life-logging (tracking time, goals, achievements, etc) via a calendar application. There doesn’t seem to be too much information around hence I’m looking for people to exchange information and ideas.

As for an explanation how calendar tracking can work for you - Awais Hussein shows calendar tracking during his speech about Keeping Track of Time (at around the 2:32 mark). Nicolas Felton also does calendar tracking which can be seen in this interview called Every Step I Take (1:59 and 2:14). And finally, David Achkar logs his life in a similar way as seen on this QS MeetUp video (2:20).

[size=medium] DEFINING DATA[/size] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
They way I log my life is actually quite simple - I have defined different key categories and created a calendar for each of them. Additionally I’ve colour-coded each calendar for easier distinction:


In addition I log further details to each entry, such as mode of transportation, type of entertainment, etc:

TRA - Walk
TRA - Bus
TRA - Subway
TRA - Car
TRA - Plane
TRA - Boat

ENT - Book
ENT - Television
ENT - Computer
ENT - Game

Here’s an example screenshot with compressed data over the course of one full year - each column represents a single day.

[size=medium]LOGGING DATA[/size] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Logging information into a calendar application is usually quick once the first events have been added. Re-occuring data can simply be logged via copy & paste from previous entries. Below a list of software that may be useful for your environment - focus primarily on software which provides an easy way to sync between different devices - either via a built in option or via the open CalDAV standard.

Microsoft Outlook
eM Client
Thunderbird & Lightning

Apple Calendar

Thunderbird & Lightning
Gnome Calendar

Google Calendar
Windows Live Calendar

Logging information on a mobile device can be cumbersome - hence applications with template support allow for a quick way to add an activity or event in seconds.

CalAdd by Keith Kennedy
CalenGoo by Dominique Gunia
Calendar Tools by Shan Shan Liu
Week Calendar by UtiliTap
iCalendar by Infinite Tiers

AddYour Template by Andreas Treim
Business Calendar Pro by AppGenix
CalenGoo by Dominique Gunia
Pocket Informant-Events by WebIS

Windows Mobile
Calendar Template by Joachim Hoffmann
Calendar Templates by Jan Reidemeister
Appointment+ by SyncMe

[size=medium]EXPORTING DATA[/size] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Exporting your information from a calendar is usually quite easy as most calendar applications provide a built-in export function. The ICS data format (also called ‘icalendar’) is stored in plain text and can be opened with any text editor.

Microsoft Outlook → Choose the ‘Calendar’ view → Menu ‘File’ → ‘Save Calendar’ → export to .ics
eM Client → Menu ‘File’ → ‘Export’ → ‘Export events to .ics files’
Thunderbird & Lightning → Menu ‘Events And Tasks’ → ‘Export’ → export to .html/.ics/.csv
Apple Calendar → Menu ‘File’ → ‘Export’ → export to .ics
Kontact → Menu ‘File’ → ‘Export’ → Export as vCalendar → export to .ics

[size=medium]CONVERTING DATA[/size] --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Additional software and scripts to convert ICS files into CSV which makes it easy to import it into Microsoft Excel, OSX Numbers, and other software for further processing and analysis:

OSX Software
Export Calendars Pro
Time Table

Google Calendar
Native Google Export
Calendar to Spreadsheet

Online Conversion
ICS to CSV Converter
WebCal URL to CSV

Various Scripts
Ruby ICS to CSV
Python ICS to CSV

[size=medium]ANALYSING DATA[/size] -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Analysing raw data can be simplified with software such as Microsoft Excel, LibreOffice Charts, Apple Numbers, or Tableau Software. For the more technically savvy, data can also be nicely presented online via a variety of different libraries, such as D3, NV3D, AMcharts, HighCharts, raphael, JScharts, SigmaJS, Miso, and others.

1 Like

I tried tracking various health factors (exercise, drugs, headaches etc) using a calendar application for a while, but in the end i found it was too hard to extract the data into a usable form (like graphs) so I gave up. I was using Outlook’s calendar, which was probably my first mistake…

I’d be interested in reading how you could make a calendar application a viable (easy, quick) tracking system though.

Wow, that’s very thorough! I just started playing around with the OptimizeMe app - . You can start various timers to track different aspects of your life, then export the data via Dropbox integration.

I’m really interested in this way of working. I’ve tried various time trackers, but I already put the majority of my schedule in my calendar, so it makes sense to me to simply make sure it’s as accurate as possible as I move forward through the day, and use it as a base for time analysis.

One thing I haven’t quite figured out is how to measure aspiration against actuality. Beyond that, I’d like to make the process easier. I’ve been using GCAL to Excel to get my calendar into a spreadsheet, but I’ve got some work to do to a) make it a habit / regular review and b) set up a useful analysis. I think I’m most interested in figuring out how my time measures up against an ideal time budget…