{January Topic: Journaling} Journalling Tools

Today’s post is going to be about the tools I use to journal.

Last week, I briefly mentioned my OCD about paper journals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for new notebooks. Put me in an office supply or stationary store and watch out. I just hate the feeling of ruining a perfect, new journal with my handwriting that seems to change by the minute. (Think I’m kidding? My handwriting changes so much, I actually got in trouble once because a teacher thought someone else was doing my homework.)

Momento (iOS, $2.99)

Given my inability to stick with paper journals, it should be no surprise I went digital, and I started that journey with Momento. The thing that drew me to Momento was that it automatically pulls my social media posts into the journal. I’ve found a few apps that do this, but none worked as well or looked as good as Momento. You can also, of course, add your own entries, and they even had a section to give a 1-5 star rating to the entry. I liked to use this to rate my days. Momento is lacking in a few areas though. First and foremost, it’s only on the iPhone. I don’t use my iPad for journaling so that wasn’t a big deal, but it’d be nice to see or add to my journal it on my Mac. Another feature it lacks was TextExpander support. (Tip: When I used Momento, I worked around this by using Launch Center Pro to add snippets into my entries.)

STEP Journal (iOS/Android, Free)

After Momento, I flirted briefly with an app called STEP Journal. Unlike what its name imply, this doesn’t track steps (it does, but it tracks more). Like Momento, it pulls in data from various social media sites, but also pulls in events from your calendar, photos on your phone, and even fitness information from Jawbone or Fitbit. Personally, I felt this app just wasn’t ready for prime time. I was spending more time making things pretty and consistent than entering anything worthwhile, and just like Momento, there was also no Text Expander support or Mac version either. It does look like they’re in the process of developing a web app though.

Day One (iOS $4.99, Mac, $9.99)

And this brings us to where I’m at now, my journal app of choice – Day One. When it comes to journaling on iOS or OSX, Day One is the top choice for most people I’ve come across. I actually ended up with both apps at some point, but because journalling was never really part of my day, I never used them. Aside from being gorgeous, Day One offers both native Text Expander support and a Mac client but it doesn’t automatically import social media posts. A few solutions have popped up including Brett Terpstra’s wonderful Slogger, but even the nerdiest side of me got overwhelmed with just reading how to set it up. Currently, I’m using Giftttdy which uses IFTTT and Dropbox to pull content in.

Next week’s post will feature what I’m actually journalling about and how I do it.
Signature Update

What’s on My iPhone 6 (December 2014 Edition)

It’s been over a year since I posted my first “What’s on my iPhone?” post, and that means I’m due for an update.

I still use the same general organization – frequently used apps on the first page with the last row empty, folders on the second. Moving to an iPhone 6 also gave me an additional row for apps on each screen.

I’m actually shocked to say that many of my “frequently used” apps from last year have lost their spots on my home screen. Calendar, Yahoo Weather, Things, and Fitbit have all been retired for other alternatives. Clock, Calculator, Camera+, and Light have all been replaced by swiping up to reveal the Control Center introduced with iOS 7. My dock however has remained the same.

Onto my new (and improved) home screen.

As you can see, Calendar has been replaced with Fantastical. Although I prefer how Apple’s Calendar icon shows the date, I prefer Fantastical’s quick entry and Today widget. Yahoo Weather has been replaced by the default Weather app (having stock apps replace third party apps doesn’t happen too often). Things has been replaced by Omnifocus (No surprise there.), and Fitbit has been replaced by Jawbone (after switching from the recalled Fitbit Force to the Jawbone Up24). The apps in this row are are the main apps I check throughout the day to know how my day’s going.

The next row of apps is entirely new. Day One, a journal app, is a recent addition (I recently switched from Momento.) Habit List tracks my daily routines. Waterlogged tracks my water intake, and Mint tracks my spending. In a general sense, these are my “tracking” apps that keep me on track.

The next row of apps is media-related. Keeping their places on the home screen are Reeder and Pocket. Downcast, my podcast app of choice, and iTV Shows, for tracking my favorite shows earn the 3rd and 4th spots.

The third row of apps is sort of a grab bag of miscellaneous apps that includes the only game on my phone, Threes, an app I can’t live without, 1Password, my favorite GPS app, Waze, and a folder of remote apps (Nest, Smart Glass for the Xbox One, Wemo, and Screens, a VNC client.

The final row includes the phone app, the App Store, and Settings.


On the second page you’ll find a similar collection of folders before.

The Apple folder still exists but includes more apps now that Apple keeps forcing me to keep more of their apps on my phone. This is really just a folder to hide all their apps I don’t use.

The Files app contains a few different apps now, and truthfully Files isn’t much of a representative name anymore, but I haven’t found a better name. This folder holds Google Drive and Paprika (my absolutely favorite recipe manager), Blackboard Mobile Learn (for my classes). The other three apps, Scanbot (which I got for free), Momento, and Diptic, are likely on their way off my phone because I just don’t use them.

The health folder primarily contains guided meditation apps I’m trying out to help me fall asleep. If you have any suggestions, feel free to pass them along.

Media is a combination of my former Watch and Read folders and now contains Fliks for managing my Netflix DVD queue (Netflix if your listening, I’m still angry you removed that from your own app.), HBO Go, IMDb, Kindle, Netflix, SwagbucksTV for earning quick Swagbucks, SportsCenter for updates on my favorite teams, and WatchABC for streaming to my new Chromecast.

The next three folders could realistically be combined in some form, but I haven’t worked it out yet. My $ folder contains all my financial apps, and Save contains apps like Checkout51 and Ibotta. Shop contains Starbucks, Amazon, and cPro for Craigslist.

Social contains all my social media apps: Alien Blue for Reddit, ESPN’s Fantasy Football app, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, Paper by Facebook (this app lets me keep Messages and Facebook in one app rather than two), Tweetbot, and Yammer (for work notifications).

And last but not least, my Utilities folder which holds more miscellaneous apps: Deliveries (for tracking packages), Drafts, DUO Mobile (2-factor authentication), #Homescreen for posting to homescreen.is, IFTTT, Launch Center Pro, QRReader (on it’s way off my phone), Swype (a third party keyboard that makes up for how badly I type on my phone) and TextExpander.

I’m always curious about how people organize their home screens, and to my surprise I find a lot of people end up with similar set ups to mine – mainly the first page of actual apps with a second page of folders. Leaving an empty row at the bottom of the page is also common.

So how do you organize your home screen?

Signature Update