I’ve been trying to make some sense of how I journal, and, I suppose, of how I’ve specifically been journaling for the last few years.

Personal Journaling

I have entries going back to 2004 in the Day One app. Yeah, I’m quite certain that predates Day One by several years. I had been journaling digitally already when I started with Day One, and I liked that app enough to migrate all my previous entries. I’m glad I did, because I’m still using it.

I wish I used it even more, but I shouldn’t be too hard on myself since I have over 4000 entires in there. I’ve used it in myriad ways in different seasons, including capturing books I was reading, movies I had seen, coffee I was brewing at home, or even occasional notes about formal meetings or informal lunches with friends.

But there has been one constant across all that time, and it is that I’ve always used day one to capture personal reflections. At times, that’s been morning pages (as described in The Artist’s Way), journaled prayers (both structured or freely written), or particular things I wanted to write about that felt too personal to write elsewhere. But the persistent word here is personal … in Day One I have often tried to put words to what was happening inside me, thoughts to intimate to share in most any other setting beyond perhaps a trusted loved one.

Practical Journaling

In more recent years, since 2018, I’ve been more deliberate about practical journaling as well. This is shaped more by notes about my day, or things I find interesting to track.

This practical journaling began in a Bullet Journal, as I wanted to try my hand at shifting from digital to analog even for tracking my tasks. I kept up with that notebook for about 9 months, and it mostly worked, though I found projects hard to manage. Ultimately I found that tracking tasks still made more sense to me in an app, and I’ve been in Things ever since.

But I also like that piece of bullet journaling that takes time to capture notes or highlights of each day, and started looking for ways to maintain that. That has been through a few different digital settings, but at this point I’m deeply invested in Obsidian, with a template for a daily note that captures both structured themes and random notes every day.

I guess if Day One tracks my personal and internal life, then Obisidan tracks my practical and external life. Sometimes I wonder if it is needless complexity to maintain two different kinds of journals, and that’s why I set out to write this. And the conclusion is…its still working pretty well for me.