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#14: Automated Journaling

January 4th, 2019 · 40 minutes

Rose and David tackle the challenge of journaling and how to use automation to make it easier.

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

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Links and Show Notes

Automators 14 - Automated Journaling

Get out your artistically crafted paper notebook and favorite fountain pen as we talk about journaling in Automators episode 14. Actually, forget that stuff. Our intrepid hosts are nerds so while the focus of this episode is journalling, it’s really about automating the process so you can get more efficient at your navel-gazing.

Much Love for Day One

Rose and David start out talking about the idea of journaling and why automation can help. The first app they recommend is Day One.
Last year David bought a year subscription to Day One, and he’s digging it. Both David and Rose approve of Day One’s Automation tools with things like IFTTT along with several built-in features (like the activity feed) that ease the process of journal entry creation so you can focus on your precious words. Day One can integrate with third-party apps, like Instagram and Swarm. David also feels inferior about the way he says the word “banana”.

Day One is friends with Siri Shortcuts which opens you up to lots of potential automation, although David would like more. This leads to the discussion of automating Day One entries in a “prompt style” with a new journal entry generated out of Siri Shortcuts and used to create a Day One entry. David created a sample shortcut and screencasted it for this episode on a meditation journal. You can watch it in the Automators course at Learn.MacSparky or on YouTube.

Rosemary goes a step further by using Launch Center Pro to launch her Siri Shortcut to launch her journaling prompts. This lets her present different prompts on different days of the week. Clever. We’ve shared a link to Rose’s shortcut in the show notes.

David explains audio transcription in Day One, that works much better than you think it would be.

If This Then That (IFTTT) can also create a Day One entry, pulling data from other web services. Think about that one for a moment. Simple things, like a Google Calendar event, can be enough to trigger a new Day One entry. Rose has a cool automation that helps her log and journal television consumption using automation between and Day One.

Another way to automate journal creation is through text automation. You could use tools like Drafts or Text Expander to give you prompts to easily create journal entries.

Other Options

Then our hosts talk about journaling solutions outside of Day One. Using third-party applications like Ulysses or even just a plain text file, you can use many of the above referenced prompt-based journal automation to create new entries. There can be some challenges with things like photos and other media, but it can work. David even at one point suggests using Pages, which would work better than you think if you want media in your journal.
Next, our hosts discuss automating public journals with services like

Fancy Pens and Paper

Finally, David breaks out the pens and paper. Just because you have a fancy pen and paper, doesn’t mean you can’t bring some technology to the table. Use ScanBot or Scanner Pro to grab an image for a digital backup. If you like the idea of us a pen but not paper, there are some great iPad-based digital alternatives like GoodNotes and Notability.

It’s January and a great time to develop a journaling habit. Why don’t you use some automation to make it easier?

The Automators Seattle Meetup on January 19
PodCon 2

Join Rose and David in Seattle!

Day One | The award-winning journal app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Screencast – Meditation Journal

David built a meditation journal automation and screencasted it.

Download Link for Meditation Journal Siri Shortcut

Download David's Meditation Journal Shortcut to your iPhone or iPad

Prompted Entry Siri Shortcut

Download Rose's Prompted Entry journal Siri Shortcut to your iPhone or iPad.

Activity Feed | Day One Help
Do more with Day One - IFTTT
Swarm | Remember everywhere.
Automatically track TV & movies you're watching -
Drafts. Where Text Starts. | Drafts
Pages - Apple
Paper - Dropbox
Google Docs: Free Online Documents for Personal Use
The Commonplace Book as a Thinker’s Journal – Critical Margins
‎Scanner Pro on the App Store
‎Scanbot Scanner App - Scan PDF on the App Store
GoodNotes Homepage | A new take on note-taking
Notability by Ginger Labs
STREAKS. The to-do list that helps you form good habits. For iPhone.
Due: The Superfast Reminder App for iPhone & iPad
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