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More on Journaling: So many tools...

Journaling was long a habit that I wanted to pick up but just never did.  And it was never because I didn't believe in its worth, it was that I just never built the habit or found the proper method that worked best for me.  I'd start it for a while, be enthusiastic about it, and then lose the habit when something else came up and interrupted me.  

That's all changed for me now, as I look forward each morning and night to journaling in my newest tool I've found.  But that search has clued me in to a ton of great journaling tools that might help you as you're looking for that great push to get you into the journaling habit!  

The Five-Minute-Journal:  This is obviously the one I've adopted.  It's simple, it's quick, and it does the trick.  I won't expand into stuff I've already talked about with this in the two posts I've done on this fantastic tool.  But let's talk about some of the other aspects of the Five-Minute Journal.  

Yes - even though I credit a lot of my success with this tool to the action of physically writing into the journal itself, that doesn't mean that this is the way it is for everyone else.  And so it's worth mentioning that the Five-Minute Journal does have an iPhone app.  It's got the same cool formatted entry (gratitude, goals, affirmation, etc.) that the book does, and it integrates with photos and calendar and such to give it some nifty functionality that isn't something that the book can do.  And for $1.99 you can't beat the price.  

The Art of Manliness:  one of my favorite websites, The Art of Manliness is a site that hearkens back to the example of men from previous generations to see things that they have done, though, written, and more in an attempt to make men's lives more fulfilling and productive.  The idea that men have lost a lot of their identity in recent years with the rise of the women's movement and some of the negative anti-male backlash from it is one that resonates with a lot of people (unfortunately in ways both positive and negative), and this site looks at a lot of those issues as well as talks about skills and habits that men have had in the past that have been successful for them.  

And journaling is one of them.  So many famous and successful men from numerous walks of life have used journaling as a tool for their own personal gain that it's tough to ignore the lessons we can learn from them.  And the AoM has put out their own advice on journaling for men (and women, too, though AoM's focus is obviously on the male gender).  Why to journalhow to get started well, and even some devotional-type posts on what it means to journal and why.  

The nice thing about these tools is that they help with some of the more important aspects of journaling: what to journal and how it can be used.  The media itself matters not, the content does.  I did their 31-Day Challenge using Evernote a while back, and it was great (I needed only the combination of writing to go along with it to really cement the habit, I think).  This one is super-simple.  You sign up for OhLife on their free website.  OhLife sends you an email daily at whatever time you specify.  And you reply to the email, which creates your journal post.  Easy-peasy, rice-and-cheesy.  

Another nice feature of OhLife is that, in the daily email, it sends you a past journal entry at random, which is a nifty reminder of where you've come from in your journaling and what you've achieved - or perhaps a reminder of something else you need to work on.  

You can also visit OhLife and see a random post or go back in time and read from exactly the days you wish (provided you journaled that day).  

I used a filter in Gmail to send the daily notifications to my iPhone so that I didn't need to be online right at that time to get the reminder.  Along the same lines, Penzu is a full-featured journaling app (with a more robust and feature-filled $19/year pay option along with the free product) that allows you to keep your journaling alive online - with pictures and more.  It connects to outside apps for pictures, it's accessible via a bunch of different platforms including PC/Mac, iPhone and Android apps, and more.  It also has robust search options if you're looking for a specific entry or entries.  And it prides itself on its security - two layers of passwords are an option.  

And it's obviously available anywhere you can get to the internet.  Big plus on that one - no journals to get lost or damaged!  

What tools have you tried for journaling?  Let us know what you thought of them!


  1. Since you first mentioned the Five Minute Journal, I've been intrigued by the idea. I love the simple layout, prompts and setup of the actual book. I've tried journaling in the past, creating a new google doc for each entry, but found it to be aimless and strange. I'm also an avid reader of AoM, they always have great advice and input towards becoming a better you.

    Few questions on the five minute journal. Do you find it hard to write something every day? Are you using the book or the app?

    1. I find it surprisingly easy to write something every day, Ryan. And the more I write, the easier I find it. Once you start on the path of looking for things to have gratitude for, it's like anything else: practice makes perfect. It really starts you on a path of looking for the good and ways you can improve.

      The hardest part is the three things that would make the day great - basically, you need to have a plan. So if you have a plan, you'll need to make sure you have tasks that will get that plan done. If you don't, you'll have to make one.

      I use the physical book. For me, it's just a better way to do this - it cements the work in my head and psyche, and it creates a ritual much more than the convenience of being able to do it any time. In fact, I think that "difficulty" of not having it be convenient makes me plan around it more, which makes it MORE of a ritual.

    2. That's exactly what I was hoping for. Creating the ritual. I've found that if I sit down at the computer to write, I end up getting sucked into the abyss of the internet and not maintaining a clear thought process of what I want to write about. I always find writing things down by hand makes me retain the information more, that's why I think the book would be a better fit than the app.

      You've convinced me, heading to place an order now!

    3. Great to hear! Keep me posted on how it's going!


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