Tips for Better Journaling in the New Year – The Journal App I’m So Excited About!

By Tico+Tina

Last updated April 7, 2017

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I’ve always been awful at keeping a diary – but that was before I started using a journal app.

Tips for better journaling in the new year - best journal appI like to write. I like to record my thoughts. I really like to have it to look back on. But I think what it’s really always come down to is that I hate writing by hand – too slow!

Maybe you haven’t done a good job of journaling for similar reasons?

I typed stuff up in Evernote for many years but once it was no longer free to sync to many devices I needed to find something else for my tablet, which is where I record my dreams if I wake up in the night, or use when I’m out.

Sure, I could just use a notes feature or something, but I really hate using multiple tools for no good reason – I like everything in one place as much as possible, and I’m definitely not pecking at my tablet when I could be typing at my computer!

So I set out to find the best journal app – ideally that I could use on my computer as well as my tablet.

There are probably people who can just pick the first thing they come across, but I never do anything without researching the crap out of it to make sure it’s the best option to solve my problem.

I looked into Universal Diary, Narrate, SomNote, Penzu, and many more diary apps, but those were the ones that stuck out the most of the non-winners.

Bliss gets an honorable mention because it aims to change your mindset through short daily prompts. I’m trying it out for a while to see if I feel like it’s worth the bit of time it takes.

365 Journals is another good option for people who just want to hit the goal of writing every day, and could also use ideas for what to write about.

Best Journal App Options: Diaro vs Journey

I started out using Day Journal for several months because I wasn’t sure yet if I wanted to pay for this journaling thing and I hate using stuff that’s not pretty, which some of the non-winners were even though they would have fit my criteria. If I didn’t care about being able to sync with my computer I definitely would have kept using it (because I didn’t realize there was an awesome free version of Journey). One of my favorite features was the smart tagging – as long as I put “dream” somewhere in my entries, I didn’t have to manually add the tag. If that seems like a little thing, you don’t “convenience” hard like I do 😉

Another journal app to keep an eye on is Mirror from Paperclouds. It offers the usual features, but also includes the unique option of adding voice entries. It doesn’t currently support syncing or have a web version, but reportedly it will soon…

When it came down to it, for now the only 2 journal apps I was really torn between were Diaro and Journey.

  • They’re both really pretty.
  • They both sync, though Diaro uses Dropbox and Journey uses Google Drive.
  • They both incorporate tags and location (and you can choose your location on both, as opposed to having to have your location turned on), but Journey also automatically adds the temperature when you select your location.
  • They both allow you to add pictures, but Journey also adds the option of stickers and video!

Journey comes out on top for the overall free option because you have to pay for Diaro to remove ads and actually sync between desktop and mobile.

However, Diaro is only $3.99 to upgrade, whereas you have to pay $4.80 for the premium version of the mobile app PLUS $6.99 to use all the features of Journey in Chrome (also supported in other platforms and options).

I might prefer the easy access sidebar in Diaro, but the clean look and simple feel of Journey also has its appeal.

Why choose the Diaro journal app?

  • If you’re mainly looking for a free journal app you can use on your computer, Diaro has way more options than the free version of Journey.
  • If you know you want to upgrade, Diaro is technically the less expensive option.
  • If you prefer a sidebar to quickly access your entries in various organization options…
  • If you prefer to sync via Dropbox than Google Drive…

Why choose the Journey journal app?

  • If you want a free option to sync between your computer and mobile…
  • If you don’t want ads on the free app…
  • If you prefer a more minimalist design…
  • If you prefer to sync via Google Drive than Dropbox…
  • If you like the extra features like video…

My clear winner for best journal app is Journey!

I don’t mind paying a little more for the right tool, but for the moment it seems that the free version of Journey is going to work out great for me.

The free web version is extremely limited in features – pretty much down and dirty on just an entry or a picture, but the free version of the mobile app is awesome! The only thing I feel like I’m missing from the premium version is the “throwback”s.

The only thing I wish would be added to Journey is the ability to automatically sync your social media activity. I’d love to be able to see my instagrams, tweets, and YouTube videos all in the same timeline with my journal entries.

Tips for Better Journaling with Journey

  1. Turn on reminders to notify you at the time and frequency that will help you hit your journaling goals.
  2. Turn on “Inspiration” to get a prompt to quickly enter something for that day or help get your writing flowing.
  3. Add a photo to your entry to easily capture and remember your surroundings, an event, or how you’re feeling that day.
  4. Utilize the video function to quickly speak your thoughts instead of having to write them down. (I’m not sure how this will affect your Google Drive storage, so keep that in mind with length.)
  5. Add tags to easily organize and find certain types of entries.
  6. Add your location so you can easily track your experiences on a map.

Have another journal app you like or tips for better journaling that help you? Let us know!

We're well-acquainted with being stuck in soul-sucking survival mode, and the intense internal friction of not living in alignment with your potential. We're all about discovering, creating, and sharing adulting cheat codes™ so you can level up faster! -David (Tico) & Chris(tina)

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