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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Thoughtree for iPhone (iOS 7)

Posted on Sep 22, 2013 | 0 comments

photo 1 You may have read on EasyJournaling.com, our mid-summer review of Thoughtree (the Beta) but I’m pleased to reevaluate my recommendation now that it has hit the iTunes App Store, all tweaked and tuned for iOS 7 and free for the taking.

Developer, Jude Abeler, offers journalers his “personal thought network” for practical productivity, with a classic user interface in black, white and green. Its charming tree logo reminded me of my children’s’ book collection, which included The Giving Tree. Both are delightfully unfussy.

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Journalized For The iPhone Is Nice But Not Quite There

Posted on Aug 3, 2012 | 0 comments

Journalized - Andrew Hart

In a world of increasingly more, less often stands out and becomes desirable. Similarly, if you remove clutter and distractions from and application, it becomes easier to focus on the purpose of the software.

Such is the case with the new Journalized for the iPhone. It achieves bare minimum in an elegant way without offering (or, as is often the case, forcing) more than you need. Tap the plus button to create and entry and away you go. Insert text as well as pictures or videos from your device and your entry is complete. Entries are displayed in a feed in reverse chronological and a calendar is also available to see what days you created entries.

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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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Top 5 FREE iPhone Journals/Diaries

Posted on Dec 26, 2011 | 1 comment

Want to get started in a journal on your iPhone but feeling light in the wallet? This list covers the best available free journals and diaries for the iPhone. Some of these don’t have all of the features that I preach you should hold out for, but then again, they won’t cost you a penny so what will it hurt? Then again, a few of these are packed with the goodies many paid apps have and I’m not sure how they can be offered for free.

Also note that there are a ton of other free journal apps available, but many of them require an in-app purchase to unlock unlimited entries or other basic features. This list is made up of diaries that (I believe) are fully functional without additional purchase. Clicking on the icon will take you to the app in the app store and clicking on the name will take you to a full review here at Easy Journaling (except for My Tymz and MeDaily).

So try one or try them all and, as always, let me know if I missed one.

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Journal App Review: Flava For iPhone Is Both More and Less Than A Journal

Posted on Dec 13, 2011 | 0 comments

How Is Flava Free?!

Flava Logo Flava™ - Save All Moments! - Greenmonster, Inc.If you are recently switching from handwritten journals to digital (or even currently doing both), simple text entries might be enough for you at this point. That is perfectly fine, but if you are looking for a little bit more, there are special apps like Flava™ – Save All Moments! that allow the user to add entries in ways you didn’t even know were possible.

I really like the way Flava is set up. Instead of every entry being the same and just allowing the importing of pictures, links or other media, there are seven different entry types to choose from: text, photo, places, music, books, URL and recordings. Most entry types are rather deep as well. For example, books is integrated into Google Books so you can search for a book and it will bring up the information with it. You can then comment on the book. Music will link to a song in your library that you can play right from the diary and photo allows you to add graphics to your pictures before you input them into the entry.

Tags are super simple. There are just a few to choose from and they are all graphical. You can simply tap on the heart or smiley and that entry will be organized with the rest of the same tag.

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How To Start A Journal

Posted on Oct 5, 2011 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Jake & Lindsay Sherbert

Photo Credit – Jake & Lindsay Sherbert

Well, this is backwards.

About a week ago I spoke of my efforts to end my current journal to begin a new one. It wasn’t until I wrote that post and with your encouragement that I was able to make the jump. I want to share, not only how I ended it, but how I began the next one as well.

So now, as my life goes into another transitioning curve, I bid farewell and hope that the reader has access to my future journals.

And, in the words of perhaps the greatest trilogy of all time, Back to the Future…

To be continued…

The next day when I started my new one, these are the first words I began with:

If I were to give names to chapters in my life, this one would probably be something like “Fatherhood, Post College and Starting Career”.

Another option would be to write the intro to a journal later when you understood better what was in it. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t.

So there you have it and now the challenge… how did you start your last journal?

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Journal App Review: My Momentz Is A Journal Minus The Frills

Posted on Aug 22, 2011 | 1 comment

My Momentz - PKSArena.com
I speak often of features that matter and the number of options journal apps have. But what if all of those features and options were stripped away, leaving only a functional, simple diary for your smartphone?

The result might very well be My Momentz for the iPhone, a journal that offers just enough to get by while still working well and coming in at a nice price point, $0.99. Password protection is supported as well as attaching pictures to entries and landscape typing. Emoticons are one of the highlights as they are bright and full of personality.

Entries can be sorted by ones that have attachments or ones that are bookmarked or even ones of a certain mood, but I couldn’t find a search function. There is also no backup feature and the only export option is via email (or just the text to Facebook).

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Journal App Review: PlainDiary

Posted on Jul 22, 2011 | 0 comments

PlainDiary - ordinaryFactory

Some feel that features and usability are mutually exclusive. While this might be the case in some situations, I have seen many developers successfully present a beautiful and simple app while having a deep feature set beneath the surface. Apple is actually a great example of this. Their products are usually very easy to use but still have a ton of customization, options and utility if you look a little deeper.

PlainDiary is, in most aspects, the beauty without the brawn. The interface is clean and simple- rather like Day One actually- but the beauty is only skin deep. Even the nice aesthetics aren’t customizable, which is a shame, especially if you don’t like baby blue.

The first thing you see is a calendar with the days marked that you have journaled. Here you can flip through the months or just scroll down to see the entries for the current month. This view will give you a snippet view of what you have written on those days.

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