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The trouble is, keeping a journal isn't easy. It takes dedication to this new habit and a willingness to open up when writing on a blank page. What have you done today?
Who are you, really? Journaling apps can help you figure this out and help you establish a daily writing routine. After testing nearly two dozen options, these are the top journaling apps to record your memories this year and in years to come.
Click on any app to learn more about why we chose it, or keep reading for more context on journal apps. Day One for Mac and iOS users. Diarium for Windows users. Penzu for secure journaling. Momento for social media power users. Grid Diary for templated journaling. Five Minute Journal for journaling beginners. Dabble Me for journaling over email.
Daylio for non-writers. If you don't want a completely new app, you can always use your current note-taking app as your journal. Or, do one better and build your own journal app without any code—just a quick automation. All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category.
We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog. A paper notebook and pen are fine for journaling, but apps offer more.
They give you more context on what you've accomplished and where you might want to go. They also let you include photos from your phone or posts from your social media feeds to make the journaling experience more rewarding.
Add in reminders and the ability to search your journal entries, and digital journaling is almost a no-brainer. I've been testing and writing about software professionally for over a decade. I've also journaled every day for the past three years. It's an important ritual for me, personally, and it's also where a lot of the best ideas in my writing originate.
In my experience, the best apps for keeping a journal have a few things in common:. Easy entry: If it takes more than a couple of clicks or taps to add a journal entry, chances are you're not going to do it. Pleasant interface: A minimalist, uncluttered interface helps you focus on your thoughts and makes journaling a pleasant experience. Reminders: Perhaps the biggest challenge to journaling is remembering to do it. Automatic reminders help you keep up the habit.
Exporting: In case the app stops being developed or you want to move to a different journaling platform, you'll want to be able to export your entries in a format other programs can read, such as PDF or RTF. Syncing: Syncing will make sure your journal's up to date no matter what device you're using. Affordability: We eliminated some apps because of the high price. Journaling shouldn't be expensive. Other features for a digital journal that might be important to you include password protection, Markdown support, the ability to add more than one photo, location and weather tags, and journaling prompts.
For each diary app, I started by creating a handful of new entries, complete with images. I then spent some time exploring the settings, testing the daily reminders, and ensuring that syncing and exporting worked as described.
Since its release in , Day One has been one of the most highly recommended journaling apps, landing a spot as Apple's Editors Choice in the App Store numerous times. It's not hard to see why. The app offers a wide array of features—just about everything you might want or need in a digital journal. You can create journal entries in one click on the Mac from the menu bar, use templates to make journaling easier, and automatically add metadata, such as location, weather, motion activity, currently-playing music, and step count.
There are optional prompts, if you're not sure what to write about. You can also tag entries with hashtags, insert photos and videos, password-protect your journal, and format entries in Markdown.
And all of this is within an elegant, unobtrusive design. It has one main blue color plus menus and icons in gray—no gaudy toolbars in sight.
Perhaps Day One's best feature is the ability to customize multiple reminders. Most other journal apps only send you one reminder during the day. But with Day One, you can get prompted to write, say, when you start the day, at lunchtime, and then at the end of your workday to keep track of your activities and thoughts throughout the day.
The free app offers pretty much all of the core journaling features, but for syncing, unlimited photos, handwritten and audio entries, and multiple journals, you'll need to subscribe to the Day One Premium service. Diarium offers beautiful native apps for every platform. The Windows application, in particular, is nicer than any other I could find. But there's so much more to recommend here. You can add multiple media types to your journal entries.
If you'd rather speak than type, you can dictate your thoughts with accurate speech recognition. You can attach an audio file, inked drawing, or any other type of file to your entries, as well as multiple photos. Heck, you can even rate your journal entries perhaps most useful as a way to track how happy you are each day.
To make journaling even easier, Diarium can automatically pull in feeds from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; or fitness apps, including Google Fit, Fitbit, and Strava, among others. It can also pull in your calendar appointments and even the day's weather. Combine this with daily reminders and beautiful native apps for every platform, and you've got the best cross-platform journal app on the market.
Penzu Web, iOS, Android. So why not just use Word, WordPress, or a note-taking app like Evernote? For one thing, Penzu keeps your entries together in one journal online, as opposed to several different files.
Custom email reminders help you remember to record your journal entry. And Penzu can send you reminders of what you've written in the past so that you can reminisce about the good old days.
You can lock your journal with a special password which is different from your account password , secure your content with bit encryption, and choose to auto-lock your journal at all times.
If you're on the Pro plan, Penzu can safeguard your entries with military-strength bit encryption. If you want to keep a journal the same way you might a personal blog but keep it private, Penzu is an excellent option.
You'll need to spring for the paid Pro plan, though, to get core digital journaling features such as tagging. Momento iOS. If you're already documenting your life online on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium, you're already keeping a journal—it's just spread across the internet. Momento brings all of your shared posts and interactions from sites like these into one place, helping you keep a digital archive of your online interactions.
It has over 16, reviews on the Google Play store as well, with close to a 5-star rating. There's an iOS app as well. Journey is the new kid on the block and appears to be the most popular regular journaling app in this list , with over 65, reviews on the Google Play store and nearly 2, reviews on iTunes.
Once again, it's pretty similar to Penzu and Day One, but it looks like Journey is a newer, more up-to-date version work exploring. Similar to other apps, the free plan offers basic journaling capabilities, but you will need to upgrade to access advanced functionality like:. This pricing isn't obvious from their website, which is a little disappointing and a bit sketchy.
With that being said, they seem to have many happy users. Ok, here's an interesting pick. Daylio : a "micro diary and mood tracker. Unlike traditional journaling apps, you are prompted to journal with "labels" and short snippets of text vs. This breaks down the barriers to journaling because it's so easy to use. This app boasts a crazy number of reviews on the Google play store - over k! Additionally, the iOS app has over 20k reviews.
The free plan restricts certain feature and is ad-supported. The premium plan offers the following functionality:. Overall, I really like the approach Daylio is taking, especially for people who are looking for a new digital journal app.
With that being said, I think there is immense power to spending some time writing things down in a structured way. Sentiment tracking is only one piece of the puzzle. This is called Words and it's based on morning pages from the book, The Artist's Way. The general theme is that you should write in a stream of consciousness. The process can be therapeutic. If you are a writer or someone who wants to write more often like me , you should check this out.
If you are a beginner, this habit takes quite a bit of effort to stick. If you're a visual thinker and you need more than a text-only journaling system, take a look at GoodNotes. A stand-out feature to GoodNotes is how flexible it is. You can quickly take notes with shapes, different highlight colors, and even in your handwriting.
Customize the flow of the pen. Others use it like a digital bullet journal system , and its flexibility makes it easy to do so.
Because of its wide-open format and design, it positions itself both as an Evernote alternative and a digital journaling app. It's simple to do both, especially with their Notebook feature, which is essentially a filing system. There are different canvasses, including a blank page or grid-style. Can more than 4. Momento is an app where you can capture everything that you do in your life. Memento has many different templates that you can choose from, depending on what you want to journal.
Grid Diary is a combination of keeping a diary while also incorporating planner features to help keep you on track when writing about your day. You have many different prompts you can choose from to help guide you through your journaling process. Spend less time worrying about what to write, and spend more time getting into the habit of reflection and insight.
You can organize them by date, add tags to the entries, set a location, and even place them in different folders. In conclusion, there are a ton of various apps to choose from. We recommend focusing on establishing the habit first - the various features won't make a huge difference if you don't make journaling a regular habit.
That's why you should try ClickUp get started for free. It is the only fully customizable tool available, which means that you can mold the software to fit your needs instead of trying to create new behaviors that confirm to how the app functions. Then I tried a digital journal. I'd add a response over email. It was super simple to use, and the habit stuck! ClickUp ClickUp is a powerful productivity platform designed to manage everything—tasks, goals, ideas, roadmaps, notes, and even your entire workflow, all on a single screen.
More from Friday. What is the best app for journaling? How do you create a digital journal? Is there a daily journal app?
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