Effective Journaling with Day One

Plus business cards, noise canceling, and magic clipboards

Honorable mentions this month include:

  • MOO - MOO is one of my favorite online stationery and business card printing shops. The quality of their materials is second to none: when I hand out my business card to people, their first response is almost always “Woah.” Check out what they’ve got to offer, and use my referral link here for 25% off your first order!

  • Krisp - Krisp is a noise-canceling app that filters your audio, making all of your online calls cleaner and clearer. It gets rid of background noises, hums, and even echoes so that you can hear the things that matter. It’s free for up to 120 mins of calls a week, or $5/month billed annually.

  • Clipy - Clipy is a computer clipboard and snippet manager on steroids. Whenever you copy or cut something, it gets inserted into a “clipboard.” But the issue is that you can only store one value at a time. Clipy fixes that and stores as much history as you want (assuming your computer can handle it). It also holds snippets, which are bodies of text that you can insert with a keyboard shortcut. Completely free.

Each month, I cover three “honorable mentions” or fantastic tools that don’t necessarily require a full article review. Let’s talk about our main app now.

Journaling is said to be the key to success. Some well-known names—Tim Ferriss, Emma Watson, Pat Flynn—have talked about how journaling was crucial for their growth.

Among many other benefits, journaling helps you:

  1. Come up with new ideas and brainstorm.

  2. Focus on your vision and reorient to your goals

  3. Gain clarity through introspection

Many of us meander through life, not reflecting or thinking about things. We don’t think about our long-term goals. We’re not intentional about how we spend our time.

Without looking back and understanding the past, it isn’t easy to grow in meaningful ways. Without looking inward, it’s hard to know where there’s room to improve.

One of the essential habits I developed throughout 2020 was journaling as often as I could. When I sat down, the routine was simple: three things I’m grateful for, three goals for the day, and ten ideas.

It sounds so easy, it’s almost stupid—but this same prompt has kept me focused and productive throughout 2020. Even though I didn’t journal every day as I should have, the times I did sit down helped me gain immense clarity.

Naming 3 things I’m grateful for each time helped keep me positive. It helped me realize how much I do have, taking the focus off of my dissatisfaction. The three goals for the day helped me stay motivated and focused: beyond keeping up with side projects, I also kept up with chores.

Finally, the ten ideas were pivotal. There was no limitation or restriction—my only goal was to brainstorm ten ideas of any kind, any topic. By coming up with new things each day, no matter how dumb, I trained myself to think outside of the box and be resourceful.

I did all of this with Day One, a cross-platform journaling app.

Basic Features

You can create multiple “journals,” which in turn consist of entries. Entries can be text-based, or you can insert any multimedia you want—photos, videos, files, etc.

Separate views can aggregate information for various things: you can see every photo, video, or other multimedia you’ve ever uploaded. You can see all days in a calendar you wrote entries, and you can also visualize all of the locations you’ve written entries on a map.

Day One has advanced searching capabilities and tagging, so you can organize your entries and find things at a later date. Halfway through the year, I added a tag “#ideas” to my entries, which allowed me to see all of the previous ideas I’d coughed up—very useful when I needed to look up something I didn’t remember.

The user interface is minimal and friendly, making it perfect for journaling distraction-free on both desktop and mobile apps.

The majority of its power comes from the mobile application—intended to be used on-the-go, users can create journal entries for practically anything, from drawings, to videos to even document or PDF scans.

You don’t have to use Day One to write and gather thoughts like me: you could use it to snap photos and store ideas quickly.

It’s a fantastic journaling app, and journaling with it has significantly contributed to my fulfillment and success.

Try Day One For Free

You can get most of the basic functionalities for free—unlimited text entries, app access, reminders, streaks, etc.

But there are some (in my opinion) crucial features that are premium:

  1. Cloud sync between devices

  2. More than one journal

  3. End-to-end encryption for privacy

  4. Unlimited multimedia

While you can do essential text journaling for free, if you’re a more avid user who enjoys inserting multimedia into your entries, then you’ll want to opt for the premium plan.

Or, if you’re like me and prefer to organize entries for different purposes, being able to create more than one journal is also an important feature to have.

For only $34.99/year (~$3/month), you can use all of the premium features for clean, cross-device journaling. It’s a great deal.

Pros & Cons


  • Beautiful, minimalist app. There are many features (e.g., tags, journals, maps, multimedia, etc.), but it’s not at all cluttered. You see the content that matters, which is mostly just your entries.

  • Cheap. Most apps charge $5 - $10/month on the cheap side. $35/year for cross-platform sync and unlimited multimedia uploads/journal entries is quite the steal.

  • Fast. The app is blazingly fast and smooth to use. I can write abnormally large entries without any sluggishness, and my photos and videos load almost instantaneously. It’s vital that when I’m journaling, I’m not distracted by external factors like a slow user interface, etc.


  • Only for the Apple ecosystem or Android. There isn’t a web application interface or a native Windows app.

  • Some features seem pointless. You can log an “activity” in your entries, which only includes eight choices: Stationary, Walking, Running, Biking, Eating, Automotive, Flying, and Train. Not sure anybody would (or should) be journaling while they’re biking or driving…

Overall, Day One is a fantastic journaling app I’d be happy to recommend to anyone looking for a fast, clean app for gathering thoughts and other multimedia. More importantly, I’d highly recommend picking up a habit of journaling—if not once per day, at least once a week or month to reorient to your goals and gain clarity.

Start Journaling Today w/ Day One

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