100 Days of Day One journaling app | Reflection

Signing up to Day One made me journal consistently

100 days of using Day One
100 days of using Day One

I love the idea of journaling. It was just an idea, and I never kept the act of journaling daily. That was until I signed up to the Day One app.

I had watched a dozen videos on Day One over the past four years, but it was a video by Carl Pullein that me think about why I should separate my journal from my note-taking app — Apple Notes.

Before Day One, I had dabbled with Craft Docs, Journey, Microsoft Word (don’t judge), Google Docs, Evernote, entries into my Google Calendar and eventually Apple Notes. None of them were ever consistent. I couldn’t find the flow or motivation to record my thoughts every day.

It wasn’t until I decided to start going back to my previous entries that I realised the power of reflecting on old memories, photos, and thoughts. I immediately felt grateful for writing things down. It was like I had a treasure trove of the past.

During my revisit, I spotted one thing that stuck out to me. The navigation and ease of searching through in chronological order was difficult to follow. I wouldn’t say it was the fault of the apps itself. Really, the way I had labelled them was a hinderance. I was inconsistent with the name convention. Here are a few of the naming conventions I used over the years.

  • Thursday — 21/09
  • 21/09/23 TH
  • 2023–09–21 THU
  • Journal — 21–09–2023
  • A phrase to summarise the day with an emoji for my mood

As you can see, I had a confusing array of titles. This wasn’t apparent until I decided to amalgamate all the journal entries into one app. Even with my journaling inconsistency, I had over 1000 entries. No way was I going to rename them all with the same naming convention.

As a writer you should not judge. You should understand.” — Ernest Hemingway

The capture shift

I didn’t want the hassle of deciding how I was doing to title my journal entries. I started to explore options by looking online at what others were sharing on social media. Some looked good. Some were confusing with the date formatting (US date format is different to the UK’s approach). Then, I saw the video by Carl Pullein showing off how he used Day One. The dating method was done automatically in a stylistic way.

I didn’t dawn to me to go to Day One immediately. I looked at a host of journaling apps because I wanted to look at the options. Eventually, I went to Day One’s website and started to explore what it had to offer. I was impressed.

Dare I say, I was in awe of the features on offer.

Making the switch

Further research and five more videos later, I signed up to Day One journaling app. They offered a one-month trial of their service. It only took two weeks for me to decide the Day One app was the right fit for me. I continued with the trial and subscribed to Day One on the last day. The £32.99 annual subscription was reasonable for what features I was interested in — E2EE, cross-platform support, access via web, app lock protection, daily prompts, audio capture, Apple Watch app, templates, and handwritten entries for my iPad.

It has been 100 days since I chose to switch to Day One journal. It was the best thing I could have done to make my journaling a successful habit. I believe the daily prompts to write pinging on my Apple Watch is a reason for my consistency. Even on the days I don’t feel like writing, I take the time to record something, including the option to input through the audio capture feature.

The surprising feature I thought I would never use is actually one I use most frequently with Day One. I capture entries on my Apple Watch when I am not close to my phone or computer. There are two options — write an entry or record audio. Both are great tools for those on the go. I just wish the audio recording had a transcribing tool because it would be nice to have both text and audio in the same entry.

Another cool feature is the daily prompt. Each day, a different question appears in Day One. I find these to be thought-provoking. I try my best to give lengthy responses because I know in a year’s time I will read what I have recorded. Some questions throw me because I struggle to find positives in myself. For example, one question was — What are some of your strengths? I’m not going to give you the response, but you can see how the app makes you mindful of who you are as a person.

I won’t feel the real impact of Day One until I have used the app for over a year. Day One has an impressive widget and section in the side panel called On This Day. It presents you with journal entries from a year ago. Like I mentioned earlier, revisiting old journal entries is special.

Day One on macOS
Day One on macOS

Stepping back in time shows you what was most important in your life. I’m excited to be reminded of the wonderful summer holiday I had with my family. The photos and descriptions had a lot of thought put into them. I’m also interested to see how I react to my daily prompts. Will I still feel the say way?

Looking to the future

My next post on Day One will come when I have completed 365 days of using the service. I know that time will fly by, as does everything else in my life right now.

The frictionless journaling of Day One has made it a pleasure to use each day.

Even on the days when I struggle to write something down, I can always use one of the templates available. I can always use Day One’s blog if I need a dose of inspiration.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Mark @ CodeMacLife

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