Why You Should Keep a Gratitude Journal

Posted on Oct 31, 2013 | 0 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 1You 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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Finding the Right Digital Journal for Beginners- Vince’s Journey

Posted on Feb 7, 2013 | 0 comments

Photo Credit - Madalai Muthu

Photo Credit – Madalai Muthu

Vince Doss recently reached out to me asking a few questions and explaining his journey attempting to find the right digital journal in his busy life. I was inspired and educated by his story enough that I encouraged him to write it out for all of you to enjoy as well. As you will soon see, Vince is on the right track and his careful selection process will increase his chances of an enjoyable and fulfilling journaling experience.

Take it away Vince!

I am an IT support professional and I have just taken up journaling in the past month. I set out to find a tool to help me gather my thoughts, a compensatory strategy for ADD. I enter repair tickets (only PC based); do network management and email from my PC laptop. I also have an iPad (but find typing on it is not fun with/without stylus) and an iPhone5. I was looking for something to quickly enter notes from the time I wake and throughout the day to both chronicle my day’s activities, for ticket entry later if needed, as well as my goals, thoughts and musings. After trying for a couple weeks I think the iPhone has won out as the primary input platform. I first stumbled upon EJ when searching for “the best journaling apps” and found Sam’s eBooks and PDFs. These were pivotal in helping me arrive at a few conclusions.

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Everyday.me and the Automated Journaling Movement

Posted on Aug 17, 2012 | 0 comments

What if I told you that you could journal without even journaling? That you could go to bed at night knowing that your entries had been written, complete with pictures?

This may sound far off, but with a new app called Everyday.me, it is closer that you imagine. The thing that gets me even more excited is that I have been thinking about taking journaling in this direction recently- a direction I call the automated journal.

This new way of journaling hinges on the fact that in this day and age we are constantly leaving notes and pieces of our lives. Tweets, Facebook posts, emails, Instagram pics… and so on. We are leaving more of this personal information out there, usually for sharing with our friends and family, but why not collect it for personal use as well? What if we could collect this digital footprint and store it privately?

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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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Morpheus Dreams Gives a Convincing Argument That They Are the Best Dream Journal for the iPhone

Posted on Jun 9, 2012 | 0 comments

Morpheus Dreams - Advanced Dream Journal & Interpretation - Mighty Mack

Dream journals aren’t a new concept, but they have arguably grown in popularity with smartphones and app stores. For those unfamiliar, a dream journal allows you to record your dreams (hopefully as soon as you wake up) and they help you not only record them, but interpret them as well. I’ve spotlighted one before, and now now the creators of Morpheus Dreams have come to me with this compelling argument as well as a chart outlining how it compares with competition in the app store. 

Note that the following information is from the developer. As always, I encourage you to do additional research if you are interested in purchasing any journal apps. Fortunately, Morpheus Dreams is only $1.99, so if you do want to give it a try you can do so with minimal risk. That being said, the app looks good to me (sporting several features above and beyond) and I have been pleasantly surprised with using dream journals in the past. Morpheus Dreams was designed to give users all the tools to easily build a dream journal, whilst exploring the meaning of the dreams. There are many Dream apps out there, but Morpheus Dreams is the first App to offer a comprehensive set of features from journal entry – you type complete journals, not just key words – to an integrated dictionary, interpretation tools, Share, Sync and Export functions, and much much more.

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

Posted on Jan 6, 2012 | 0 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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Screenshot Capture Is A Super Easy Way To Journal

Posted on Dec 30, 2011 | 0 comments

Let’s end 2011 with a simple and amazing tip for your smartphone journal or diary app, okay?

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

A few months ago I made a goal to include a picture with every entry I wrote, which is usually every day. This has improved the experience several-fold and also had the residual effect of forcing me to take more pictures of my life and record the early years of my son’s life. Sometimes, however, I come to the end of the day and begin to write my entry only to find out I hadn’t taken a picture for that day, *gasp*! Even if it wasn’t dark, I still wouldn’t want to take a picture of myself or my bedroom at 10pm. What’s the point of that?

One of the first few times this happened, I had an epiphany. I simply found a website from a popular news outlet on my smartphone and, since I do this sort of thing, I took a screenshot of the page. I attached that screenshot to my entry just like I would have any other picture. Now it is there forever with that entry as an interesting anecdote of what happened on that day in history. I have since done this several time, but not only of news stories.

I have found that screenshots are an incredible way to capture tiny snippets of my life and store them for future enjoyment. Unfortunately, the experience isn’t consistent for all smartphone users. Palm Pre and iPhone users will have the easiest time with this as it is as simple as pushing a combination of buttons. Blackberry screenshots require an app to be installed first, but taking a screenshot with Androids requires you first to root your operating system so it is the most difficult. For more detailed instructions on how to take snapshots with your smartphone, click the link below:

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Top 5 FREE iPhone Journals/Diaries

Posted on Dec 26, 2011 | 0 comments

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 LogoFlava™ - 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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My Daily Dream Journal

Posted on Oct 19, 2011 | 0 comments

My Daily Dream Journal - Dream Journal/Dictionary - JI Software Company

If you are a dreamer or liked My Daily Journal (MDJ) featured recently, listen up. My Daily Dream Journal (from the creators of MDJ, JI Software) refers not to my own personal dream journal (I’ll be honest, I’ve never kept one), but an interesting new app for the iPhone and iPad that promises to record those fleeting dreams.

Actually, to justsay MDDJ is an app that records dreams would fall short of what it can do. Similar to any other journal, create an entry and input the details of your dream. After you are done it scans your document for terms and phrases that might actually mean something. And this is the cool part. It lists these tag-like terms at the bottom and if you tap on one, it will give you an analysis of what that part of your dream could have meant. For example, falling is described as such: “Falling is a very common dream theme: perhaps this is because your body will sometimes jerk awake after a ‘fall’, causing you to remember that dream. Think about the fall. Do you see the fall coming or does it happen all of a sudden? …Your subconscious may be concerned that you’ve fallen from someone’s good graces…”

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Journal App Review- My Daily Journal Could Be Your Next Journal

Posted on Oct 18, 2011 | 0 comments

My Daily Journal - The  Personalized Journal/Diary - JI Software Company

If you are in the hunt for an iPhone or iPad journal, you may have to look no further than one of the newer contenders, My Daily Journal. Packing in functionality, customization and features, MDJ is just about as good as you will find on iOS.

Perhaps the best feature is universality. Buy this app once and you have it on your iPhone, iPad and even iPod touch. Although I reviewed it on my iPhone 4, the iPad version utilizes the large screen, scaling accordingly.

Another very important feature is that MDJ can be backed up in the ‘cloud’, something I recently mentioned no digital journal should go without. You can sync your entries via the popular Dropbox service (free account) or you can export it as a PDF if you want to store it or print it for yourself.

Most of the other features on my checklist are marked one after another. Password protection (letters and numbers), automatic saving, retroactive entries (make an entry for a date in the past), photos, search, landscape and a bunch of customization. And I mean a ton. I didn’t take the time to count the fonts, but there are dozens which you can either use for a single entry or set it as the default. Additionally you can change the size and color of every font. There are also 7 different cover colors and paper styles.

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Why Your Journal Is Better Than Facebook’s Timeline

Posted on Oct 15, 2011 | 0 comments

Have you heard about Facebook’s upcoming feature Timeline? Recently announced at Facebook’s own F8 conference, Timeline is a new feature that will be rolled out that will combine past and future posts, pictures, videos and other updates into a single, visual conglomerate. In their own words:

“Imagine if there was an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place.

Photo Credit - John Young

Photo Credit – John Young

Introducing timeline – a new kind of profile

 With timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you’ve already shared. They don’t just vanish as you add new stuff.

 Timeline is wider than your old profile, and it’s a lot more visual.  The first thing you’ll notice is the giant photo right at the top. This is your cover, and it’s completely up to you which of your photos you put here.

 As you scroll down past your cover, you’ll see your posts, photos and life events as they happened in time. You choose what’s featured on your timeline. You can star your favorites to double their size or hide things altogether.”

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How Will The 2050 Crowd Benefit From Our Journals?

Posted on Oct 9, 2011 | 0 comments

Following is a guest post I did for another great journaling website, Journal in a Box. I highly recommend clicking through and reading the full article. Journal in a Box not only gives tips and suggestions for improving journals, they also offer unique physical journals to do it in.

How Will the 2050 Crowd Benefit from our Journals?

You’ve been there before. Grandpa telling you about how he had to walk to school upside down through a tsunami of 20 feet of snow and 125 degrees below zero, all while fighting off a pack of wolves.

We get it pops, life was tough.

I can already imagine the stories we will tell our grandkids. “When I was your age I actually had to drive non-flying cars with steering wheels! Oh, and we had to actually read things; we couldn’t just have it uploaded into our brains”.

…or whatever.

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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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