Using Day One to track specific activities
March 20, 2012
Every couple weeks we read about someone else taking up a private journal with Day One, a journaling app available for both iOS and OS X. One of the key benefits of the app is its cloud-based synchronization, allowing you to use iCloud or Dropbox to keep entries updates across devices. The app is also acknowledged for its rather good-looking interface, which sets it apart from similar apps available in the App Store.
We picked up Day One for iOS several months back, but didn’t use it too extensively.We’ve wanted to keep a private journal for many years now, but find that we never etch enough time into our schedule to make it happen.1
Day One is fairly simplistic as far as journaling apps go. There’s limited Markdown support at the moment, and no integration with social networking sites, nor with embedded media outside of hyperlinks. In a way, that’s one of Day One’s strengths, because it focuses you on writing, not reviewing what you posted on Twitter earlier that day, or where you checked in via FourSquare.2
Where we’ve found Day One to excel is in writing short journal entries and tracking some amount of information we’d otherwise lose sight of. For example, we’ve used other apps to track lifestyle activities like meals eaten, workout results, and general physical condition. These tend to be activity-specific apps, like Livestrong’s MyPlate, or Azumio’s Heart Rate monitor. Day One allows us to compile all this information into one daily log, which may not offer fancy graphs for tracking this data visually, but still serves as a useful log for later reference.
It’d be great if the various tracking apps we use could easily export to Day One using a URL scheme,3 but Launch Center already supports starting a new Day One entry with clipboard information, so as long as a given tracking app will let you copy information to the clipboard, a simple workflow follows accordingly.4
While we’re still not using Day One for longform entries, the app remains on our iPhone and iPad to track other daily notes, likes foods eaten and how we felt accordingly thereafter. It’s great for this, and we wonder why we didn’t think of using Day One to journal these types of activities earlier.
We toyed with the idea of using it to store blog entries too, but ultimately decided it slowed down our workflow. ↩
There’s also no search function yet, which is the best indicator that reviewing content was not the developer’s primary objective for the app. Hopefully it will come soon, however. ↩
DayOne already supports URL schemes, so it’s just a matter of third-parties adding support. ↩
Unfortunately, none of the tracking apps we use will export daily information to even the clipboard, so we’re currently summarizing things manually in Day One. We may look into replacing some of these apps to see if an alternative with exporting exists. ↩