Why You Should Keep a Gratitude Journal

Posted on Oct 31, 2013 | 3 comments

 

Photo Credit -happyserendipity.com

Photo Credit -happyserendipity.com

In today’s world, it can be very easy to focus on the things we don’t have rather than pay thanks to the things that we do have. Indeed, that’s when keeping a gratitude journal comes in to play. Not only does it take the focus off our unnecessary wants, it gives us a reason to reflect on all of the good things in our lives. And you shouldn’t limit the project to just yourself. Instead, involve the whole family and let the gratitude journal your children keep become a way to show them what is truly important in their lives.

Keeping a gratitude journal makes it easier to focus on priorities. It shows us how our past wants were achieved or dismissed and it gives us an idea of what areas of our lives are good and which areas need improvement. For example, we may have created a good career, but haven’t kept the friends from our past as close as we would have liked to. The gratitude journal can help us find a way to reconnect with our old gang and find ways to let them know how much that part of your life meant to you.

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My Diary – Private Journal… Just a “Plain” Average App

Posted on Oct 15, 2013 | 0 comments

md After reviewing several really good journaling apps, My Diary – Private Journal was quite a letdown.  In all fairness I must state that I am a bit of an App Junkie and I enjoy apps that are feature rich as well as apps that are highly customizable.  My Diary – Private Journal is neither.  What you see is what you get, and you don’t get much.  Nevertheless, how can one complain when the price is right… it is free.  When an app is free what could you lose?  All you invested is the time it took you to determine whether you like it or not.

Before moving on, let me make it clear that this review is on My Diary – Private Journal (MDPJ).  There is another app called My Diary that has an icon very similar to MDPJ.

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How To Correctly Copy and Paste Into Your Journal

Posted on May 18, 2013 | 4 comments

Photo Credit - Arthit Suriyawongkul

Photo Credit – Arthit Suriyawongkul

We write a lot more words than we typically give ourselves credit for. Not only am I constantly writing blog posts on this and other sites, but I frequently write detailed emails to close family and friends. Throw in social media, commenting on other websites and personal journaling and I average probably a four digit word count every day.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you do too.

When it comes to my digital journal word count, I cheat. I’m bad. I steal, plunder and plagerize.

But it’s all okay! I’m not stealing someone elses words and calling them mine, I am stealing my own words and calling them mine. With a quick ctrl+c and ctrl+v (command for you Mac folks) I grab text I have already written and slap it right into my personal journal entries.

If you’ve been around Easy Journaling for any amount of time, this probably isn’t new to you. Today this post is going to be different, however, because I’m going to show you step by step how to do this the right way.

The reason that there is a right way and wrong way is because you have to properly give context for what you are doing. If you insert a detailed status update you wrote on Facebook into your personal journal without any explanation, it will sound weird. This is because you are writing for a different audience on Facebook than you are writing for yourself in your personal journal.

So let’s follow an example so that you can see how to do this in your own digital journaling. Let’s say that I recently wrote an email to my business mentor detailing my ideas and goals for the coming year. This is very important to me so I feel that it will add incredible value to my personal journal and want to paste it in.

The first step is to go into my Gmail account and go to the sent folder.

gmail_sendemail_confirmation2

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

I find the email I sent to my mentor and select the text using ctrl+a. I copy it using ctrl+c.

I then open up my digital journal (currently using Diaro 3 for Android) which has a web browser. Note that I’m doing this process on my computer but it could also work on a mobile device as well.

I create a new entry and match the date with the date that the email was sent.

Capture

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

Since I have already copied the email, I can now paste it in using ctrl+v.

Now I need to give context so I write in bold letters above the email (if you can’t bold text in your journal, parenthesis will work too): Email Sent to Mentor About 2013 Goals

You can also write the context as part of the title of the entry, if your journal supports entries.

If he replied the same day you can paste his reply in the same entry, just below your original email. Make sure and write something like: Mentors Response to My Email

Now you make sure and save the entry and you are done! Writing a long entry never felt so easy!

There may be some rogue exceptions, but this method should be nearly universal. It is simply the process of taking words you have written and pasting them into your journal entries. I have been doing it for years and it is a great way to see details about your life that you would never include otherwise.

Give it a whirl and leave your experience in the comments below!

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I Have Written 371,193 Words In My Journals In 14 Years

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 | 2 comments

Photo Credit - Alan Levine

Photo Credit – Alan Levine

I’m a stat nerd, so to be honest, I’m not sure why I haven’t done this before. It all started with a simple question I had the other day:

How much have I really written in my journals?

It wasn’t the sort of question that has no answer or is not quantifiable, it was a very clear and direct question that I knew I could find the answer to. I turned to the tool that I have become oh-so-familiar with as an aspiring engineer- a spreadsheet.

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Using Evernote As a Journal

Posted on Sep 30, 2012 | 9 comments

To call Evernote a product wouldn’t do it justice. This uber-popular note taking service has expanded to the point where it is an entire platform. Now there are dozens (if not hundreds) of applications that tap into the service for backup and more that enhance it. It is free for limited use and for a small price you can get almost unlimited uploading for notes and pictures.

If you aren’t familiar with Evernote, I will let Wikipedia explain it to you:

“Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook. Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms (including Microsoft WindowsMac OS XChrome OSAndroidiOS and WebOS), and also offers online synchronization and backup services.”


If you have used Evernote, you may have realized that it could make a splendid digital journal. Not only is it free but also available on almost any platform and very easy to use. Still, I personally would never use it as a daily journal. This is mostly because the service is almost to broad to be used just for journaling. In other words, I wouldn’t want to mix all of my notes with my private journal entries. Most people probably wouldn’t care and I think Evernote is a great option for them.

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Copy/Paste Will Set Your Digital Journal Free

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 | 0 comments

I’ve yet to make a master list of reasons why I am becoming more and more convinced that digital journals are superior (for me!) than handwritten journals with pen and paper. My ebook Modern Journaling contains 9 specific reasons and I am noticing new ones continually as technology improves and the world moves in that direction. Perhaps some day soon that full list will present itself, but until then I give to you one of my favorite reasons why I choose eJournaling in this day and age- Copy/Paste.

Photo Credit - Robert Donovan

Photo Credit – Robert Donovan

My handwriting is atrocious so I already prefer a keyboard over a pen, but when there are additional ways to make my journaling even easier, I’m usually in. When you copy and paste, you are basically having someone else do the typing for you. That’s right, put other people to work to improve your journal!

You may be wondering why you would ever want to copy and paste someone else’s words into your personal journal. There are, in fact, dozens of reasons why, including these suggestions:

  • Grab a list of the day’s headlines and smack them into your daily entry to help remember the day
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6 Things to Consider Before Moving to a New eJournal

Posted on May 22, 2012 | 1 comment

Call it a blessing or a curse, but one option you have keeping a digital journal that you don’t with handwritten ones is that you can move/duplicate/delete the files. This can be done either purposefully or even on accident if you are not careful.

An extension of this ability is that it is sometimes possible to move your journal entries from one eJournal to another. Unfortunately, however, this process is cumbersome at best and excruciatingly frustrating at worst. This is likely because these software developers aren’t looking for compatibility with competitors but focus rather on macing their own applications better.

I’ve been dwelling on this subject lately more than usual because I am currently embroiled in the process and on the aforementioned frustration spectrum, I am leaning towards the ‘worse’ end. I spoke of my reasoning of why I switched from Wonderful Days to Penzu a few months ago, but this is the first time I have talked about the actual process of switching. Yes, it is still a work in process, even months later. Instead of giving you a blow by blow of my personal experience (of which very few will deal with), I present six items to consider when/if you decide that the first eJournal you chose isn’t the best choice and you want to migrate to another.

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When It Comes To Journaling, The Medium Just Doesn’t Matter

Posted on Mar 22, 2012 | 2 comments

Easy Journaling is built with the purpose to make- wait for it- journaling easier. Of course this has turned into a heavy emphasis on taking part in the practice with digital means which is usually things like smartphones, tablets and computers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that journaling is easier if done digitally. This is just the result of, in my own experience, if I don’t keep a journal electronically in my currently busy life, I don’t keep one at all.

If you notice the poll to the right of this post, you will see a simple question with a few options. Even though this poll just started and only has a few votes, pen and paper is the preferred way to journal by a decent margin. This may change as votes continue to come in, but in the bigger scheme of things, the results really don’t matter.

To me, if I can help you get into any kind of journal and/or improve your practice, I have succeeded. Since there are many others in the journaling space online, I am grateful to be the digital go-to for this incredible pass-time. That doesn’t mean, however, that I haven’t personally filled several bound journals nor discourage your keeping a journal or diary with pen and paper, Morse code or stitching (or… whatever). As long as it fulfills you and it fits into your schedule, I say go for it!

Photo Credit - Dmitriy

Photo Credit – Dmitriy

The tricky part of all of this is that, unless you have tried all different ways to journal, how can you know that your preferred method is the best for you? When I first got started with journaling online, I definitely felt that it was the right way for me at that point. How did I know? Because I did it consistently for the first time in years. I felt the security of the cloud and the power of my typing skills over my scary handwriting.

If there is a moral to take away from this, know that pretty much any way to journal isn’t, by itself, better than any other way. However, there is a best way for you to keep a diligent journal or diary and my challenge to you today is that if you have never tried anything other than the current way you are doing it, try something different. There are free options here and here if you want to try the method I am currently into and preaching. Then again, if you have never journaled in any form and only been active on Facebook or Twitter, I invite you to feel the subtle power of silently writing in a blank, bound paper journal.

Anyone disagree and not open to trying a new way of journaling?

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Meernotes For The iPhone Has Become That Little Notebook In My Back Pocket

Posted on Mar 5, 2012 | 2 comments

Meernotes - Fabulously Retro

It’s been a while, but a few months ago I wrote about an interesting little diary/notebook app for the iPhone called Meernotes when it first came out (it was initially called Molenotes). I gave it fairly high praises and it has seen similar respect from other critics and users alike. Unlike other digital writing mediums where every page is essentially unlimited, Meernotes strives to actually duplicate a little notebook by only allowing you to write a certain amount of words on each page. After that you can turn the page (which, fortunately, seem to be unlimited) and continue your thought.

Not only are these pages and notebooks gorgeous, but you can keep multiple journals and store them on a built-in bookshelf. It also includes Dropbox syncing, several fonts, bookmarking, indexing, tabbing and more.

Even though I quickly fell in love with Meernotes, there were a few missing features that prevented me from making it into my daily journal. Most notably was the missing password as I would never even start a journal/diary without one. There also isn’t any way to insert pictures into entries and PDF export would be nice. Basically, Meernotes is really as close as you can to having a little notebook on your iPhone and doesn’t really try and be a true diary, and that’s okay.

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