Tag Archives: Day One

Hello 2015!

Wow – I had thought that I would be posting my first post of the year within the first week of the year. I guess I need to be more disciplined around writing here…

In any case – I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is gearing up for the new year. I started the new year with some work related travel to Shanghai, China. It involved very long hours – and hence I did not have the time to write a post.

I have restrained myself from creating new year’s resolutions this year – I figure it is arbitrary to just start something because a new year has begun. In fact, late last year I started doing a lot of the things that I would have set up as resolutions. Some of these include regular exercise (I broadened my scope from running – to exercise), staying in touch more with family & friends (I now just schedule calls on my calendar), maintaining a journal (see my post about DayOne and DO Journal) and reading more (got myself a new iPad – which should help)…

I am going to work on just organically creating and sticking to new habits – and not beat myself up if I do not achieve all of the goals I set for myself. Keeping at it until it forms a habit is what’s important. Where possible I use technology to help – Lift (or as is its new name – Coach.me) for habits, DayOne and DO Journal for journaling, iSmoothRun to track my runs, MyFitnessPal to track my food habits and so on. I will post more related to these tools and apps in later posts.

What are some of your new year’s resolutions? How are you developing new habits to keep them going?

My DayOne journal journey

All problems reside in your mind. No sooner do you write them down on paper than most of them dissolve. – Sirshree

Much has been written about the benefits of writing a journal and why one should write a journal. A lot of people maintain a diary, and we can of course draw inspiration from the musings of famous writers about keeping a diary.

I never really kept a journal or wrote in a diary. I always feel that one should write when the feeling comes upon them – and carrying around a physical diary and a pen seemed onerous. I realized that if I were to do so, it would have to be electronic – and always available – so I could access it and jot my thoughts. To me – this necessitated this being a very electronic activity. One that I could accomplish predominantly using my mobile phone (an iPhone) and occasionally using my laptop. So I looked up journaling apps and the one that really caught my fancy was DayOne.

A couple of months ago, the DayOne app went free as part of the iTunes free app of the week program and I jumped on that opportunity to download the app.

Since then I have been using the app. Sporadically at best, but nonetheless something that I did from time to time. I have only recently started getting more regular about it. One of the things that has helped me get regular at it has been the Lift app – which helps form habits. I use Lift to help me develop habits – from exercising to meditation to – now – journaling.

I started by simply using the tool to quickly jot down the activities or events for the day. Occasionally I took a picture that I could embed in my journal. But nothing deep – nothing that documented my thoughts or feelings about anything.

Recently however, I am using the tool a bit differently. I am using it to document my thoughts – shallow or deep – and my feelings about things. Since I keep my journal private, I am allowing myself the liberty of documenting strengths, weaknesses, gratitude, frustrations and fears. To embrace vulnerability. As I write my thoughts – and especially my fears and frustrations – I try to be reflective of what I should be doing, or could be doing to address them. How I could be a better person. If nothing else, it brings these thoughts to the fore and documents them for future reference. And hopefully, by documenting my fears and frustrations, I will have taken the first step towards actually overcoming them. By writing about my hopes and appreciation, I will have put in motion an amplifying effect that allows me to achieve more, feel more, become better.

Since the DayOne app lets me, I do assign tags to each entry – and where possible I attach pictures. I find that it helps keep the journal interesting. And I think it would be a blast to revisit the journal a few years from now and see those things that I was thinking of or doing in a visual timeline. The app also logs my location – and this is useful since I can write about my travels, and have the tool take care of the physical location tags. The app is also great because it also tags what music I am listening to when I am writing in my journal (something I only found out recently), the current weather and temperature as well as any activity I may be undertaking at the time (hiking, walking, etc). The beauty of it is that it logs a lot of this information for me – so I don’t have to. And I think it will create a log that is the richer for it.

I am now using Life Journal – a beautiful and intuitive journaling / electronic diary application for Windows that can also act as a desktop PC front end for Day One.

I hope to make this into a lifelong habit – and will write more as my habit matures, and the things that I journal about change over time. I would love to hear if you journal, what you write about – and how has it helped you.

Day One App (and Life Journal for Windows users)

I started using the Day One App a while back and really wanted to develop the habit of creating journal entries of daily reflections, random thoughts, my feelings, interesting pictures I took, milestones in my life and/or career, etc. And it has been a very useful tool for those things.

There are of course many ways in which the app can be used. I use it to suit my needs – which can sometimes be all over the place. To remind myself to pen a few words from time to time, I have set up 4 reminders – 9am, 1pm, 5pm and 9pm – so that I can do quick point in time notes in case I have been pre-occupied with other things. I use the 9am and 9pm reminders to write my gratitude entry and reflection entry respectively. The Day One app also lets you publish some of your journal entries via their Publish web site.

Day One has come out with v2 with support for multiple journals and multiple images per entry. But they have also made the move to proprietary sync with their own servers, dropping Dropbox (and iCloud) sync support. For me the functionality updates are not big enough and the loss of Dropbox sync is a huge issue (I like to keep my journal data close). As such, I still continue to use Day One Classic (and have not yet made the jump to the new Day One v2). A lot of other people are similarly worried about aspects such as data security, lack of Dropbox sync and lock-in.

Life Journal – A Windows client for Day One:

One of the things I really wanted was a journal application that could work on my Windows desktop PC. Today, Day One only works on iOS and Mac (both have to be purchased separately). If you want to use Day One on your desktop Windows PC, you are essentially out of luck. I spend a lot of time in front of a Windows PC and wanted to have a tool to maintain my journal – especially when creating verbose entries (which is hard to do on the phone).

I now use Life Journal – which lets me use the app on a Windows desktop PC. Life Journal is a journal app for Windows that allows me to both read and create entries that are fully compatible with Day One (entries I create in Day One can be read and edited by Life Journal and vice versa). It lets me maintain continuity of my Day One journal on my PC (via Dropbox sync). It is a simple, beautiful, yet powerful and full featured application. It is also encrypted by default to keep your journal private. Best of all, I get to control what happens with my data.

Very responsive support team and always looking to improve the product – I highly recommend giving it a try.

If you like to maintain a physical journal (especially a gratitude journal), I would highly recommend the Five Minute Journal by IntelligentChange. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, the folks over at Beautiful Life Apps have created an Adapted Five Minute Journal Template (PDF) that can be purchased and printed at home to create your own gratitude journal.

(Some images of the Life Journal software below from the Beautiful Life Apps website)

I love Day One and Life Journal – and find them to be useful tools to aid my journaling workflow and document things that I would otherwise experience and forget. Having access to a journaling tool on iOS and on a Windows PC means I can journal whenever I want, with the device I am most comfortable with. Which increases the chances that I *will* journal – and that is what is important to me…

How do you use Day One? Do you use Life Journal?