Day One is a great resolution to have

The Day One app has been around for a while, and keeps getting better.
The Day One app has been around for a while, and keeps getting better.

Day One
Cost: $0.99
Seller: Bloom Built, LLC
Devices: iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone
Rating: E for everyone

First impressions

We all know the well-worn resolutions that people make, revolving around diets, fitness, money and family. One that gets forgotten, yet is very important (particularly for reflection in later years) is the promise to start a journal.

Sure, Facebook keeps track of your posts, your photos, and has a feature that pops up with memories from days gone by (whether you like it or not), but it’s not the same as keeping a personal record of places you’ve been, things you did, people you met and goals that you’ve got.

If you've got children, this is a great way to record your days with them as they grow up.
If you’ve got children, this is a great way to record your days with them as they grow up.

Back when I was a young lass, those far more disciplined than myself kept a diary every day. I can guarantee that folks who did so really cherish those memories and love being able to look through the pages of their younger selves’ thoughts.

The closest I’ve ever come to recording my life is when I’ve been on vacation and send involved emails to everyone to keep them abreast of my trip. When I got back, I consolidated all of them and had a fantastic journal of my travels. I would have forgotten half of the events, otherwise.

What I’m trying to say (in a very long-winded fashion), is that this year I’m determined to get better at keeping a journal and I recommend you do the same. One way to do so is to find an app that can make it easy.

Day One is one such app, and at only $0.99 it might be worth a go. Yes, your memories are worth a lot, but hey – if you can get a great bargain at the same time, that was a bonus.

So far, so good.
So far, so good.

How it works

The app opens to a blank page on the right hand side and a menu on the left. There is no tutorial offered, hints or instructions. You’re just dropped right in it and left to your own devices.

This usually means two things: either the app is badly designed, or it is so self-explanatory that assistance is not necessary.

In this case, it’s more the latter. So long as you’re familiar with using your device and you do not think that Twitter is another name for a silly person, you should be fine.
It defaults to today’s date, but you can use the calendar on the left to add entries to the past. This is useful, in case you forgot to attach a photo or record something important.
Anyway, let’s start with an entry example.

Tap “Edit” in the top right hand corner to start adding text and photos to your entry. If you allowed location services, it will automatically mark your location for that day and the weather. Unsurprisingly, if you use this in Cayman, you’ll note that a lot of your days are sunny and hot.

So, suppose you’re reporting on the great day out you had with your friends, and now you want to add photos? Simply tap on the camera icon on the left to access your device’s camera or photo albums. Choose the images you want and add them right in.
When you’ve added all the text and photos you want for the time being, tap “Done” and the number by your time line in the menu will increase by one. You’ve officially added an entry to your journal!

When you tap on your time line it’ll show you every entry you’ve made. Tapping on the photos option brings up all the photos you’ve added to your entries, with the dates and times.

The “Settings” tab allows you to add a passcode or Touch ID to protect your information beyond your device’s built-in security features; change the style of your entries, such as the type and size of the font; set up reminders; and export to a PDF. There are a number of advanced options under this tab as well, which you can explore at your leisure.

At the bottom of the entry page is a shape that looks a bit like the end of a ribbon. Tap on that and it gives you the chance to set up an account so you can publish your journal online. You do not have to do this in order to use the Day One app, but it’s a nice option to have.
The up and down pointing arrows scroll you through the active entry, and the three dots at the end on the right cover the “Export/Send” features, including printing, publishing, tweeting, and opening PDFs and text in relevant apps.

When I tried it

As I mentioned earlier, I was so happy that I kept up my emails when I was on vacation, as it was a great way of keeping a journal for myself. But those were Word documents, or just plain text. I could attach photos, yet often I did not because I didn’t want to spend my entire vacation putting together the emails to send people.

This app is a much better way to record it all, and as I have a cruise coming up at the end of this month, I’ll be giving it a proper try then.

For the purposes of writing this review, I went through a lot of the options and found it very easy to use. Lazy person that I am, I exhausted all avenues that could have possibly led to a tutorial before I actually started it properly. Once I realized that I was getting no help, I actually used my noggin and was creating entries in no time at all.
I really liked being able to just add photos from my camera roll, or taking them as I went along.

I’m still working on the tags aspect, and I set up an account (which is free) to publish some of my extraordinary (ahem) postings. I’m very keen to use a lot more of its features when I travel next.

Final thoughts

Facebook is a great way of recording some of your memories, but it’s not designed to be a journal as the Day One app is, so you could find yourself scrolling through your time line for ages to look for an old post.

Take it from someone who has been rubbish about keeping a diary in the past, but has been so happy with the results when she did make the effort. To look back on those life experiences and be reminded of all the little details is priceless.

I would absolutely make downloading the Day One app one of your New Year’s resolutions, particularly if you have kids. It’s never too late to start.

Inexpensive. Easy to use. Great features.

It cannot work without you.