For as long as I have been able to write, I have been a journaler. I still have my very first journal, a hot pink number complete with a lock and key designed to protect the secrets that five-year-old Kendra would have been mortified to have discovered. Over the years, I have written my way through countless diaries. My reasons for journaling have varied: at times, journaling has been an emotional outlet, helping me to process through my thoughts and allowing the pages to carry emotions I couldn’t shoulder on my own. At other times, my journals have simply been a place for me to record everyday happenings. I have kept every one of these journals, and though I rarely go back to read them, I take comfort in knowing that my life has been well documented.
A couple of years ago, I fell into a journaling slump. And by slump, I mean that I quit writing altogether. I don’t know what initially caused me to stop journaling, but with each month that passed without a journal entry, I grew progressively less motivated to pick up my journal and write. I had my excuses: I was too busy; it had been too long, and I would have too much to catch up on; I simply didn’t feel like putting my out-of-practice hand through the grueling cramping that journaling would inevitably induce. But long-held habits are not easily dismissed, and the absence of journaling in my life left a noticeable void.
After months of (unsuccessfully) encouraging me to return to journaling, Luke suggested that I try keeping a journal in digital form. He had been using the Day One journal app for years and thought it might be just what I needed to satisfy my intrinsic need to journal. At first I was opposed to the idea: Luddite that I am, I wasn’t sure how I felt about abandoning my physical journal. After all, aren’t the therapeutic aspects of journaling derived from the manual act of putting pen to paper? But, with my current journaling habits being what they were, I figured that I had nothing to lose. I downloaded the app, and I have to say that it was love at first entry.
Day One is available for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but I have used it exclusively on my phone. The app costs $4.99, and though I rarely pay for apps, Day One is absolutely worth every penny. The app has a clean, intuitive interface that takes the pressure out of journaling by making it easy to record daily thoughts and events as they happen. Every Day One entry automatically tracks weather data, location, time and date, and step count; these are items I would not have thought to record in my personal journals, but I love that they add context to each entry. The app allows you to select a photo to accompany your entries, and you can add multiple tags to an entry and even star favorite entries. These features make it easy to organize and look back through past entries, something I rarely did with my paper journals, but that I find myself doing frequently with Day One.
One of the reasons I was initially reluctant to keep a digital journal was that I worried I would somehow lose my information to faulty technology. Day One prevents this problem by automatically backing up all entries and syncing them with iCloud. The one time I thought I had lost an entry, I was able to contact Day One’s support team, and they immediately retrieved it for me. For those of us who like to have our memories saved in physical form, Day One also offers the option of PDF export and printing. You can even tweet and e-mail entries, if you are into that sort of thing.
Day One has truly revolutionized the way that I journal and the way that I process my life. I find myself seeking out Day One-worthy topics throughout the day, and each idea, photo, quote, and experience sends me reaching for my phone to capture the moment in my favorite new journal app. In addition to recording daily occurrences and writing entries to help process through my emotions, I’ve used Day One as a book and movie log, as a place to jot down recipes I’ve tried, and as a space to outline and track my personal goals. The app has potential to be used in a number of other ways as well; in fact, the Day One website has an entire page dedicated to tracking how other users have incorporated Day One into their daily routines.
I never thought I would be a digital journal convert, but after two solid months of journaling with Day One, I can’t imagine daily life without it. I haven’t completely given up on my traditional journals, as they do have their place, but Day One has me journaling more frequently and thoroughly than ever before. If you are looking to start a journaling habit, or if you want to take your journaling to the next level, I can’t recommend Day One highly enough.