Life Timeline

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What is a life timeline?

A life timeline is simply that — a timeline of the events and milestones you consider important in your life. You can keep your life timeline in analog or digital formats.

Why do I need a life timeline?

  • What year did we…?

  • Did we stop in Yellowstone when we went to … ?

Have you ever had these types of conversations? If so, then a life timeline is for you.

A regularly maintained Life Timeline can make it easy to fill in a resume, complete forms, and more. You can even use it as a tool for writing your own memoir. Most importantly, it can serve as a treasure trove for recalling happy memories.

Document, Spreadsheet, or Database — Which is best?

Analog options: A notebook and pen will work fine if you like analog. Start by dedicating one year per page/spread and then add events to their respective pages. The Jibun Techo Life Book (typically available on for U.S. Residents) is a pretty, pre-formatted life timeline. (Note, the type even in the larger version is pretty small for aging eyes). Bullet Journalers (or BuJo’ers for those in the know), your monthly log could also serve this purpose — simply highlight items that you feel reach the level of Life Timeline and migrate them to a Life Timeline collection.

Digital options: A simple document is a good starting point. Whether it’s word, google docs, or even a text file, start with the current year, begin adding months and add a new line by date. So, for instance:

  • 2022

    • January

      • 3 — adopted a puppy (Barney) from the local humane society

      • 6 — kids started back to school following the holiday break

As you build your own process for updating the document, you'll discover the right level of detail for you. Someone who adds to their timeline monthly might go into this level of detail. At the end of the year you could take out things that likely aren't relevant in five years — like the day the kids started back to school following the holiday break. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You make your own rules.

Google Sheets Version

This template in Google Sheets is a nice way to start if you're not sure how to get started.

Notion Version

Notion is a digital productivity tool that is very popular today. Notion mixes easy to create pages that you can fill with text, images, files, and more with a database structure that makes it easy to filter and search for results. I created a simple template that you can duplicate to your own Notion database if you’d like to give it a try.

There are three views in this database:

  • Default table view sorted in descending order by date

  • A grouped list view my month

  • A card view that shows by event type