This week, Journals. First, let me narrow down the definition. When I say Journals, I am talking about reflective journals, where I log events and feelings.

I wrote last week about Calendars, with the digital winning out for me, because of its ubiquity and shareability. The first version of this post appeared on Nero’s Notes last week, before I discovered Moleskine Journey.

The Digital

Day One is an absolutely superb app, that I have had on my devices for a long time. The first entry is the 3rd of August 2013. I have used it on and off since then. It lives on all my devices, syncing from one to the other. As with calendars, this is a baked-in advantage of the digital.

I just randomly opened an entry.

“They tried. They could not save him. At 2300 we got the call that we had dreaded. RIP Nero.”

Reading that again still brings tears.

Back to the app; the post has metadata, so I can see when I wrote it and where. Other posts have photos and maps attached. I can have limitless different journals, all accessible from the one thing that I am pretty much guaranteed to have with me all the time. I can type, or I can dictate.

Day One, teamed with an iPhone is fantastic.

Soon after the first version of this article was posted, I was directed to Journey, an App by Moleskine. There is a web app and an IOS app.

“Designed for creatives minds, independent workers, and free spirits, Moleskine Journey is the first app that blends productivity tools with tracking features that keep tabs on your overall well-being to help you get stuff done and find inner balance every day.” – So there.

I have been playing with it on my iOS devices. It’s a lovely app to look at. Using a + button, I can add planner items, journal entries, photos, challenges, mood trackers, goals – all sorts of things. In fact, if you set your mind to customisation, you can make this app your central hub.

I’m on the free trial version, and having loads of fun.

Moleskine is an Italian company, so your data is covered by GDPR, which is good. However, under the hood there’s an amount of Google – which is less good.

The Analogue

This year, I’m trying something new. Actually, I’m trying a few new things.

Hobonichi. I bought one of these famed Japanese notebooks specifically to start a daily reflective journal. It’s A6, Tomoe River paper and lives in a funky cover. Each afternoon, as part of my “close-down routine”, I take a fountain pen and summarise the working day. Usually in about half a page. The following morning, I finish the page, covering the evening and my reflections on the day.

Rhodia. Rhodiarama A5 Ruled. I’m doing a challenge. One Year No Beer, OYNB. I’m not drinking alcohol for a year. In order to help that, I get an email each day from OYNB, linking to a short video. Each morning I watch the video and then write an entry on the video and how I’m getting on with the challenge.

As I write, we’re 24 days into the year, and I’m still going on both, writing decent length entries. I would consider that as “working.”

The Battle

My last entries into Day One were on the 6th of January. While away in Turkey, I used the app extensively. In fact, the entries in my analogue journals for the beginning of the year came from Day One. On the road, Day One is unbeatable for me. I can have multiple journals (I have 5 – Stuart, Business, Food Diary, OYNB and Instagram) at my fingertips, without needing to carry lots of notebooks.

Back at home though, I write in my analogue notebooks. Why? Intention, ritual, tactility. I am at my desk, open the book, select a fountain pen and take a few moments to reflect. I revel in writing with a real pen on real paper. The act of writing is mindful and cathartic in a way that typing on a screen is not.

The Winner

Don’t be daft. They’re both winners.

Trip Journals

In a month or so, I’ll be on a plane with my wife, heading for a fun long weekend in Rome. On the little seat back table will be a Moleskine City Notebook that will be full of ideas for things to do and places to go. My mobile phone will be next to it. I will take photos, and compose journal entries into Day One.

Writing my journal in my Hobonichi doesn’t mean that I can’t love Day One and Journey too