One of my New Years resolutions was to start journalling. The daily practice of writing is widely considered to improve one’s psychological well being but my main reason for starting a diary relates to my absolutely appalling memory which would have less power to rob me of exciting experiences if I had a journal to glance over.
I didn’t intend spending hours with a quill and leather bound notepad, penning a diary of great literary worth. In fact my initial resolution said I was to spend 5 mins jotting notes with the latest app du jour – IDoneThis.
I Done This is a great idea, it started as an email based work productivity tool – teams would be emailed at the end of each day with the question “What did you do today?” It can be a great management tool so you can unobtrusively keep in touch with progress but it also encourages a shift in focus towards a more Get Things Done attitude.
I Done This have translated the concept to a free iPhone app which allows you to achieve similar benefits on a personal level. I’ve been using it since the beginning of the year and it has invaded my life in a very positive way. I’m ticking tasks off and starting the day thinking what do I want to achieve today – what do I want to add to the “I Done This” list?
The downside with I Done This is its lack of visual appeal and portability of data. It’s a beautifully simple app that does the job required of it but I have a weakness for apps that offer at least as much style as substance, and this one just doesn’t excite me. The biggest draw back for me though is the lack of a dropbox sync feature, or other means to extract the data I’ve entered. I don’t like the idea of investing days, months or years into a single app that I become effectively locked into.
It may be that I’m doing the app a disservice, it does sync to the IDoneThis website and although I haven’t explored this, its quite possible that I could export my data from here. Its not intuitive enough though, so primed by multiple blog reviews singing the praises of Day One, I went off to investigate.
It’s not a fair comparison, but in contrast, Day One is a beautiful app that flows seamlessly across all your mac gadgetry. It is by far and away the most adept journal app available for mac.
Because of it’s tagging functionality, Day One can handle all of your logging requirements so it doesn’t have to function as a one dimensional personal diary. The Day One blog features multiple uses for the journal such as travel journal, ideas journal, reading log, research journal etc.
I’ve set up an “IDT” tag as a direct rip from IDoneThis and capture daily bullet points of achievements worthy of mention. It’s a low demand way to start journalling with no pressure to write anything too worthy. It does encourage you get things done though. I don’t want to open the app at 8pm and struggle to populate even the first bullet point.
Now that I’ve been doing this for nearly 2 months I’ve developed the journalling habit and my list of tags are spiralling.
I just wish I’d started this earlier.