An App A Day Keeps Writer’s Block Away
In the middle of January, I have decided to make use of the Day One apple app. It’s been an interesting addition to my daily routine and in a strange way made me more productive.
First off, for those of you who have never heard of Day One, you could either download the app on your iPhone right now or go on their website Day One App. On their website they describe this amazing app as:
Day One is a journaling app for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Record life as you live it. From once-in-a-lifetime events to everyday moments, Day One’s elegant interface makes journaling your life a simple pleasure.
There are many many journaling apps out there in the App Store, not many come at the cheap price tag of free with so many features and an easy to use interface.
While I could make this a review of the App and discuss why it is so amazing, I am going to focus on why it has made me more productive. After all you aren’t here to buy apps, you are here to take the small chunks of free time you do have and make them productive.
Every day, usually in the mornings, I’ll open my Day One app and spend about 3-5 minutes free writing. I’ll usually start out with jotting down the dream I had, since that’s usually the first memory in the morning that I will forget. Then I’ll write down things that I want to do or need to do, and after that I’ll just write whatever comes to mind, that’s why it’s called free writing.
I’m sure you are thinking – Gee thanks, so it’s a cool journaling app, so what about productivity? Well I’ll tell you three ways doing this has helped me creatively and productively.
1. Less Junk on the Mind
Whenever I sit down and get ready to be productive, sometimes instead of creative juices seeping onto the sheet of paper that I have laid out, I’ll just think of all the things I should be doing or other miscellaneous junk will pop up in my head.
My spending the time to jot down my thoughts in the morning, I have successfully thrown away those thoughts at Day One as opposed to letting them sit in my brain. Also any important tasks I need to take care of, would have already been taken care of by the time I sat down at my desk. Day One allows me to see what I need to do and once I already know what needs to be done, I can do it ASAP and not have that on my mind when I need to work.
2. More Ideas
Since I use Day One to write down parts of dreams that I manage to remember when I wake up in the morning that means I have lots of random story ideas to look back on whenever I encounter writer’s block. My dreams tend to fall into three categories. Real Life, Alternate Point of View, and Games.
My ‘Real Life’ dreams are as you would imagine. These dreams are mostly based off my day to day life. Sometimes they are entirely realistic, while other times they are mixed with fantastical elements like magical creatures, teleportation portals, ect.
My Alternate Point of View dreams are ones that are similar to Real Life dreams which is because they have a slice of life feel to them, yet I’m not me in those dreams. Sometimes I’m some random girl who has lived a different life, other times I’m a male character from some popular media.
The last category Games are completely different from the previous two. In my dreams I’ll sometimes dream that I’m playing a game. These games tend to be unique games that are born from my mind. For example, once I had a dream that I was playing a co-operative game where one player would be a mage and the other a warrior. The point was to get through the platforms and puzzles by combining each of your strengths and abilities.
Whenever I write one of these dreams down, I tend to add a tag to my entry such as #dream or #idea so when I encounter a creative mind-block, I could easily look through my entries and be filled with ideas for doodling, writing and projects.
3. Tracking Progress
Lastly, the reason why I feel like I’m more productive with Day One is because I can track my progress. If I ever need to think about how my week went, I could skim through my various entrees and see how my week was. If I noticed that most of my entrees repeated the task of calling my father, then when I start out my new week, I now that I need to make more of an effort to call him.
Similarly, if my entrees discuss steps I’ve been taking on a current project, then I know I’m on the right track or it’ll show how my creative project is evolving and changing as I go through various iterations of it.
Would this app work for you?
If you aren’t already journaling consistently on a digital application, then yes. It’s a free App available on the App Store and it wouldn’t be difficult to give a shot for a week. Ideally, I’d recommend for you to give the app 21 days so you can see if it actually has made a difference in your life, but every person operates differently.
I love the idea of being able to reflect on your days and the addition of being able to take pictures of each of your entries is amazing as well. Another interesting tidbit is that the app will track where you wrote your entry and the weather, which aren’t important for productivity but are nice to know as you look back.
There are other features of the app I haven’t discussed, such as the option of publish your entries publically on platforms such as tumblr, but honestly I feel like this app is meant for personal use and to help you grow as a person. The fact that this journal is for your eyes only, it’ll allow you to be more honest when you are freewriting and not block your train of thought because you don’t want to share certain personal details of your life or ideas with the world.
I believe another feature I didn’t mention was the fact that you could have the app remind you to write, which helps some. I don’t use it since I like to do it first thing when I wake up in the morning, or if I forget, the last thing I do before I go to sleep at night. Thus reminders are more annoying than useful for me.
I hope this App A Day has helped introduce you to the idea of journaling to help productivity. If you use any other journaling apps to jot down ideas or keep track of your daily life, feel free to share them, especially if they are free.