The #1 Criteria You Should Consider When Choosing a Journal

Posted on Jan 11, 2014 | 3 comments

Photo Credit - Owen W Brown

Photo Credit – Owen W Brown

I have discussed many features and criteria by which you should be judging a journal app when you are in the market for a new one. These have included export to PDF, security and backup features and cross-platform compatibility.

But when it is all said and done, after all of the numbers are crunched and you have limited your selection down to only a handful (which, by the way, www.bestjournalapp.com does for free) there is one criteria that you should use to rank and chose your app.

What is it you ask?

Well, just ask yourself a simple question- “How much do I like to use this app?”

If the answer is not very much, you should move on, even if it matches up with everything else you rank as important. If you don’t like it you simply won’t use it.

And if you don’t use it, what’s the point?

The hard part about this ranking system is that it is intangible. It is a qualitative method of measurement in a quantitative process. The way that you overcome this is simply by using the top three apps that you have ranked. After using all three- all else being equal- you will know which one you like to use best.

This is a lesson I learned recently. While I loved Everyday Timeline on paper, Diaro just speaks to me. I just enjoy the process so much better. And while I am ultimately using both of them for my daily journaling (Everyday Timeline automatically creates entries out of social media posts) I stick to Diaro because of the interface and overall feel. It is something that I can’t measure, something I can’t explain.

So, when all else is said and done, like your app for heaven’s sake!

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CLTT Episode #5- The Top 5 iPhone Journals and Diaries

Posted on May 27, 2013 | 0 comments

Player above not working? Either click here, or right-click and “Save Link” to download the episode.

 

Photo Credit - Rob Boudon

Photo Credit – Rob Boudon

This one is for you, Apple fans. (Sorry all of you Android owners, you are coming up next!) In episode 5 of the Capturing Life Through Technology podcast I discuss the top 5 journals and diaries for the iPhone with a few honorable thrown in at the end.

I am actually an Android user now but I was an iPhone guy for almost 2 years and my wife still has an iPhone. To be  honest, the iPhone journal and diary selection is much better on iOS than it is on Android. They just look nicer and work better!

In this episode you will also hear a special guest appearance where my son was gracious enough to stop watching a pirate cartoon and put down his sippy cup long enough to say hi.

 

 To listen to this podcast on your iPhone or other Apple device, click here.

The Top 5 iPhone Journals and Diaries

Original post: http://www.easyjournaling.com/2011/10/so-what-is-the-best-journal-app-for-the-iphone/

Everyday Timeline

Day One

My Daily Journal

Meernotes

Wonderful Days

(Honorable Mention)

Penzu

LDSJournal

Roller Journal

Momento

Chronicle

Windbell Diary

(Also Mentioned)

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

And… Jason!

2013-02-24 09.28.08

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

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Journal App Review: Roller Journal for iPhone

Posted on May 2, 2013 | 0 comments

icon_512 Keeping a journal is similar to exercise. Some people start it out strong; going to the gym every day, doing the necessary warm-ups and buying the required items but there will come a point where the thrill and excitement fizzles up. For people who want to keep a journal, the problem is not in the determination or the time. Sometimes, we just don’t know what to write about. We face an empty piece of paper with a pen at hand just letting precious time pass by. Then we give up.

If you are one of the many people who encounter such problems then you don’t have to worry anymore. With the iOS app named Roller Journal, you will never have to worry about not knowing what to write anymore.

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5 Ways To Start A Digital Journal For Free

Posted on Apr 5, 2013 | 5 comments

Photo Credit - Alan O'Rourke

Photo Credit – Alan O’Rourke

Not only does keeping a journal on your favorite device have incredible benefits over the alternative, but it is usually very affordable as well. While I typically encourage the serious digital journaler to eventually pay for a premium service, free alternatives are a great choice if you are just getting started. To help you out I have compiled a list of the top 5 free ways you can get started on your digital journaling adventure for free.

  1. Try the free option of a journaling service. Many journal services allow you to try it out for free. While you don’t have as many features in the free version, you will still have a solid platform to start journaling. The best part is that when you decide that you do want to upgrade to the paid version, all of your journaling entries will go right along with you. My favorite suggestions are LDS Journal and Penzu.
  2. Download a ‘lite’ or ‘trial’ version of a smartphone journal or diary app. To help you get started (and also to help you get hooked) many developers offer a free version of a paid app. Some have limited features while others give you everything that the paid version does, just with annoying advertisements. Be careful, however. These free versions don’t always transfer everything over if you upgrade to the paid one. Just search ‘lite’ or ‘free’ along with ‘journal diary’ in the app store of your choosing and you will see an entire list of these trial apps. Diaro 3 for Android is my current favorite and has a free option.
  3. Use a journal that is always free. Some journal apps are completely free. Does this mean that they are a non-profit organization doing this out of the goodness of their heart? Not typically, they are just using a different business model that involves building a large following first and then providing additional paid services in the future. Everyday Timeline (iPhone/iPad) and Flava (iPhone) are two of the more popular choices.
  4. Do it yourself (DIY) journals. While my recommendation is to use a specialized program if you are new to journaling, there are many ways that you can ‘build’ your own for free. Using Evernote is the most popular of these options but you can also create one using Google Docs, a password protected blog, a Microsoft Word document synced with Dropbox or a specialized email account you use just for your journal. Not for the faint of heart but definitely a solid option.
  5. Interact with the Easy Journaling community to get a free promo code. Generous developers frequently give me bundles of promo codes to give away to all of you so that you can benefit from their service and they can get some promotion and exposure. Nearly every week I will highlight an app and offer a chance to get the app for free by engaging in the EJ community. This may involve just leaving a comment in the blog post or answering a question on our Facebook page. Promo codes are just a long string of random letters and numbers that you can insert into your app store to get the app for free. Click here to learn more about this. Unfortunately this is only available for Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad and Mac, but hopefully us Android users will feel the promo code love soon… come on Google!

Do you have any suggestions for starting a digital journal for free?

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Does Keeping a Digital Journal Mean No More Hand Written Entries?

Posted on Apr 4, 2013 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Dmitriy

Photo Credit – Dmitriy

The benefits of keeping a digital journal over a classic, hand-written journal are clear and growing every year. It is now more secure, private, convenient and enjoyable to keep a digital journal than the more old fashioned methods.

As I speak to you through email and social media, however, there is one aspect of hand-written journals that many of you aren’t willing to fully let go of- the hand-written part. For some reasons there is a perception out there that there are fewer benefits of journaling via your fingers on a keyboard than using your wrist with a pen. I’m not sure where this came from but I’m fairly confident that it is false. I am many times more distracted writing by hand than when I type because it flows so much better.

But do you know what? This concern is essentially irrelevant because of one important fact:

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This Free Recommendation Website Is Probably The Best Thing Easy Journaling Has Ever Done

Posted on Mar 19, 2013 | 2 comments

bjatfront

What Is Your Best Journal App?

Visitors come to Easy Journaling for a variety of reasons but the most popular is to find the best journal app for their favorite device. Just type “best android diary” or “best iPhone journal” into any Google search bar and you will probably be directed to this website.

As nice as the ‘best journal app‘ posts are that you will find here, they aren’t really that helpful because each user has such different criteria. The top 5 apps for Jack won’t be the same for Jane. Everyone approaches digital journaling differently and a simple list cannot appropriately serve unique individuals.

I have tried as often as possible to give personal journal app recommendations to those who have bothered to ask. And as much as I enjoy the challenge of taking the differing criteria and using several years of app research to give the best journaling solution, the Easy Journaling community is getting to the point where it isn’t practical to serve everyone in this manner.

There was a solution to this problem all along but it took me over a year to finally pull the trigger and automate my journal recommendation process. Thanks to a paid developer, an online researcher and a skilled friend, we have built an entire journal app recommendation tool from scratch and I am excited to announce that it is now available… and it is free. It will always be free.

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Everyday Timeline Is Vying To Become The Best iPhone Journal

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 | 5 comments

A while back I wrote a post on a new iPhone application called Everyday.me and how it was the latest in a movement to automate your personal journal. Well, apparently Everyday.me was an early build and now the full product is out and called Everyday Timeline. This cute application has now become a force in the iOS journal space and with a few m

ore improvements could become one of my top recommendations.

Everyday Timeline now includes many of the features that I consider important or even essential such as:

  • Exporting - you can now export and backup your journal to Dropbox and Evernote weekly automatically. You can also print out the PDF for your own purpose.
  • Sharing - you can also explicitly share specific entries with others via email or Facebook.
  • Email posting - you can add entries by emailing anything to post@everyday.me. Attachments work also.
  • Location checkins - You can record your own private location/checkins, and/or import them from Foursquare.
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Easy Journaling’s Top 10 Posts/Pages

Posted on May 28, 2012 | 2 comments

It is hard to believe that it has almost been a year that I have been on this Easy Journaling project, but it is true. The outpouring of support has been great and the stories of those of you who have been helped with your eJournaling motivate and inspire me to continue on this path.

I have to continually remind myself that those of you who either frequent this site or are new have probably missed some of the more important posts- many of which came out in the early months. I’ve tried to add a few of them to the side bar here and there because I realize that these posts are where readers want to end up, but I have still missed some. This line of thinking has prompted me to make a single post that will eventually find a permanent place here at Easy Journaling to help all of you find the most important content the quickest.

I’ve ranked these posts and pages not by which I think are the best or most interesting or even those that I think will generate the most revenue. Rather, I’ve simply sorted my posts by most hits and to make this list even more interesting, I’ve included how many (hits) each of these posts/pages have had, all time. Hopefully the fellow web masters among us will appreciate that. Also note that I understand my more recent posts may also be more popular but haven’t had the time to generate the hits as the early ones.

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Super Awesome Tip: Handwrite and Doodle in (almost) Any eJournal!

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 | 1 comment

When you make the switch to digital journaling on your smartphone, tablet or computer, there is usually a sense of loss at first. Sure, there are new and incredible ways to record your memories in fearfully simple ways, but this new convenience is done at the sacrifice of handwriting your journals and all that goes with it. In fact, I have heard from many of you that the loss of handwritten entries is what is holding you back from totally switching to eJournaling.

So what to do?

Photo Credit - RCabanilla

Photo Credit – RCabanilla

A few months ago I sung praises about Draw Pad Pro, an iPhone app that sort of melds the two forms of journaling together. On a small smartphone it probably isn’t a great substitute, but it offers a nice alternative to most forms of eJournaling. Today I am going to show you that you don’t need Draw Pad Pro to turn Penzu, Day One, Memoires or any other eJournal into a handwritten one (sort of). All you need is a journaling app or service that allows you to upload pictures. It should also be noted that this will pretty much only work with smartphones and tablets (probably not laptops and desktops).

The first thing you will need is some sort of drawing app for your device. It can be free or paid, just allow you to draw pictures with your finger on the screen. I’m not going to list the available ones because there are so many, but just find one that you are comfortable with. In fact, you can even use the popular drawing game Draw Something although it won’t look quite as clean.

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Journal App Review: MY Wonderful Days for iPhone and iPad

Posted on Apr 14, 2012 | 7 comments

My Wonderful Days - haha Interactive

With an app store in the hundreds of thousands, it can be hard to find original names for your apps that still are catchy and accurate. My Wonderful Days had a tough run of luck when, almost a year ago, a new app burst onto the scene with a nearly identical name: Wonderful Days. If this sounds familiar, it may be because I just wrote a post blasting Wonderful Days for being unresponsive to my concern.

Strike two against Wonderful Days.

But back to MY Wonderful Days (which is a COMPLETELY different app by a COMPLETELY different developer). I am actually excited about this fun little application that brings a bunch of the must have features and even throws in a few surprises.

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What Is Path And Is It A Journal?

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 | 1 comment

I was recently perusing the app store, as I sometimes do, and came across a highly rated app that caught my eye. After some research, I was actually surprised that I hadn’t encountered this unique social media application before because I do spend a higher than average amount of time trying to understand the mobile scene. It is called Path and is not that unlike Facebook, only with a few important differences.

The first thing I noticed with Path was the first line in the app description: “Path is the smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love”  It then goes on to explain how it is a new kind of social media experience where everything is always private by default (ouch Facebook) and it is only accessible via mobile devices (currently iPhone and Android). The biggest differentiator between Path and other social media ventures is the fact that you can only have 50 connections (this is apparently based on a study that suggests we only have this many ‘close’ friends at any given time).

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Make Your Journal Better With Futurecasting

Posted on Feb 3, 2012 | 2 comments

Although there is no wrong way to journal, there are some techniques that will improve it and make the experience more fulfilling. These techniques can include sharing personal stories, inserting pictures or screenshots or even fun things like top 10 lists.

I have already discussed how time is the special ingredient that turns the ordinary words we write in our journals to priceless treasures. Time is an amazing, untamable creature but with a journal we can capture it and string it together. It is a place where our yesterdays and todays can coexist in harmony.

But what about our tomorrows? Obviously we can’t jump forward and describe our life in the future. We can, however, discuss the future openly by expressing our fears, aspirations, goals and dreams. These methods of describing the future are not only a good way to improve our entries, but become especially interesting when we read them down the road. This sort of futurecasting is one of those things that you don’t fully understand and appreciate until after you do it.

Photo Credit - Maral Sassouni

Photo Credit – Maral Sassouni

One of the more specific ways I have found to discuss my tomorrows is with predictions. These can be simple or in depth and can discuss things next week or ten years from now. These predictions can be informal or more structured like a letter to yourself to be read in the future at some date.

Reading these predictions after they were supposed to come to pass gives an interesting insight into our minds at that stage in our lives. For example, lets say that 3 years ago I said that I would have my first book published by now. If I read that now, it would almost be funny to me because I ended up not even trying to get my book published and rather pursued other creative ventures such as creating a website about digital journaling.

Life is a constantly changing stream. Give yourself some benchmarks to judge the past with by including some predictions in your next entry.

Have you made a prediction in your journal before? Did it come true?

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Draw Pad Pro: Keep A Handwritten Journal On Your iPhone!

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 | 2 comments

Draw Pad Pro Review

Draw Pad Pro : Amazing Notepads and Sketchbooks! - Fishington Studios

Alright. So you like the whole idea about keeping a journal on your iPhone because it is always with you and can easily be backed up. But there is just something about writing down your thoughts that cannot be captured with thumb-typing. Oh, what to do!

Fetter no more my friends. I present to you Draw Pad Pro, the culmination of the best of both the classic and digital journaling worlds. Of course there are other apps that will allow you to do basically the same thing, but I think Draw Pad Pro is one of the best and I have also just spent some quality hands on time with the mobile application.

DPP really has nearly all of the great features I encourage you to look for in a journal app with the only difference being the text input (handwritten vs typed). These include the option to create multiple journals, PDF export and even syncing with GoodReader or Dropbox! You can also choose from a ton of different backgrounds and pen colors and several sizes of pen thickness.

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How Can I Journal From My iPhone AND Computer? (My Most Asked Question)

Posted on Jan 6, 2012 | 2 comments

The longer I have been running Easy Journaling, the more people come to me with questions referring to journaling on their devices. These questions come from readers like you and also the friends and family in my life. The questions vary, but one pops up much more frequently than the others: What can I use that will allow me to journal from my iPhone, but that I can also write entries with on my PC or Mac?

This should be an easy answer. If I were a developer, the first thing I would do (Hint, hint) would be to make a service that works flawlessly from smartphones, tablets and computers. I understand that this is easier said than done, but in the world we live in, consumers expect to use services that sync between devices with the data stored in the cloud. This is the way our email, ebooks, shopping and many other services work.

Why not journals?

If you have this same question, you have some options.  I will be honest that there isn’t yet a perfect solution, but a few are getting closer with each update. All of these options can basically be divided into two categories: iPhone apps that work with computers or online services that work with iPhones.

Photo Credit - TeksOnDemand

Photo Credit – TeksOnDemand

iPhone Apps That Work With Computers

Perhaps the best solution is something called MomoNote . This unique service not only has a dedicated app that works for the iPhone AND iPad, but it also has an online entry method as well! The app will set you back $5 USD, but this will be worth it for many. Because this app is relatively new, I haven’t yet featured it on Easy Journaling, but look for a more full review soon.

There are a few setbacks, however. The picture insert only allows one at a time and the online interface isn’t as nice as devoted online journals such as LDS Journal or Penzu. MomoNote is also advertised as more of a multi-faceted app that allows you to keep memos and to do lists which isn’t inherently bad, but I prefer journal and diary apps to be dedicated to journaling. It makes for a nicer experience.

Day One was one of the first iPhone apps featured on EJ because of its simplicity and popularity. As I say in Modern Journaling, if Apple were to be in the journal app development business, the app they develop would probably look like Day One. Not only does it work wonderfully for the iPhone and iPad ($2 USD), but for another $10 you can get the dedicated Mac version as well. These versions sync with each other.

Even though almost everyone that uses Day One loves it, there are some major omissions from the feature set. The developers keep promising some key capabilities, but they still aren’t available. These include inserting pictures, journal search and export. You can sync with Dropbox, but there is no online entry method. This means that you can only write entries from the Mac that has the software installed, not any computer with a web browser like MomoNote.

Honorable mention in this category is MacJournal which is set up like Day One. However, many users have had bad experiences with it including difficulty syncing between smartphone and computer applications.

Online Services that work with iPhones

If you have been around this site for a while, you have probably noticed that I promote Penzu and LDS Journal a lot. It isn’t because I work for them, these are just two top-notch services that set the standard for online journaling.

Penzu has a deep and feature-filled online journal service as well as dedicated smartphone apps for iPhone and Android. The problem is, if you want to sync the apps with the service, you will need to pay the $19 a year to do so (still a great value but a deal breaker for some). You can write entries from your smartphone or tablet with the free service, but the mobile version is rudimentary at this point. See my review of the iPhone app for more info.

LDS Journal also has an amazing online service with the ability to make entries from mobile devices. The problem is, the mobile device method (which consists of a browser based entry system) is very clunky. You have to log in every time, can only make entries 500 words long and there isn’t a way to insert pictures. An alliterative version (and I believe this is possible with Penzu as well) is to use the email entry feature. This allows you to send emails to a special address and it automatically includes them as entries.

One More Trick

If none of these methods look like they will work for you, there is one more thing you can try. This tip was actually pointed out to me here in the comments section (thanks Anna!). Some amazing iPhone apps have the ability to ‘cloud’ sync with popular services such as Evernote and Dropbox. If you happen to use this, you can go to the Evernote or Dropbox websites and write an entry with any computer that will sync back with the app! I haven’t tried this yet and I’m sure the experience will vary by app and service, but it is worth a try. Wonderful Days and My Daily Journal sync with Evernote and Dropbox, respectively, so you can try it out with one of them.

Did I miss any? It seems like this discussion is an important one and will only become more so as devices get more connected. I will try and update this post as new options become available or developers update their software to make these services more connected.

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The Top 5 iPhone Journals

Posted on Oct 27, 2011 | 9 comments

Looking for the best journal app for you? Try our free journal recommendation tool!

There is no doubt that iPhone developers have conjured up some incredible journals. Some look gorgeous, others are packed with features and some have both looks and brains. This is my ranking of the best journals and diaries available for the platform.

Note that clicking on the icon will take you to the full Easy Journaling review but if you want to go straight to iTunes to download the app, click on the black Available in the App Store button.

Wonderful Days – $2.99

Beautiful interface, tons of themes, in-line picture placement, Evernote backup and PDF export will make any journal app desirable. When you include the day rating, geotagged entries, search function, multiple fonts and customizable home screen, this app suddenly becomes the best available for the popular smartphone. Surprisingly, Wonderful Days is only a few months old and the developers have already added some evolutionary updates.

In addition to the standard review, I also wrote a road test review on using it for nearly a month.

Day One – $1.99

This is the app that Apple would have developed if they were in the personal journal market. Minimalistic and modern, Day One keeps a clean, consistent theme throughout. Additionally, you can backup your entries in the ‘cloud’ with the popular Dropbox. Spanning more than smartphones, Day One also syncs with its iPad and Mac versions by the same name.

Unfortunately, it is currently impossible to upload pictures into your entries, but developers promise that feature will be included soon.

Have a lot of memories on your iPhone? Back up all of your picture and text messages for $19.99!!

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