One of the biggest regrets in my life is not documenting my travels better. I look back on decades of travel around the world, but to be honest, I remember shamefully little of it.
Maybe I remember a few highlights or some pictures spark memories, but otherwise my brain tends to remember only the bad things that happened to me.
In today’s video, I talk about my failed attempts over the years and how I finally managed to keep a journal.
For me, this process involved four steps to start journaling.
1. Find a way to journal that works for you.
I had so many failed attempts. I started – way too often and like most people, I guess – with a paper journal. It did not work.
After giving up my apartment and digitizing and throwing away all my old journals (aka attempts) I realized I needed something digital to keep me as paperless as possible.
I tried one of those five-year digital journals. It was just a simple PDF in Goodnotes. On each page, you had a few lines to write about a particular day – and it displayed the same day from five years per page. I liked the idea of quickly seeing what happened to me on that day over the years. But to be honest, I cannot keep up a daily diary. Eventually, too many days were blank, and I decided it was not working.
Next, I tried an app called Day One. At first, I liked it a lot. But since I am always traveling, there were countless entries, and eventually, it just got too disorganized. There was not really a way to group my entries or anything. Plus, I decided that the cost of the subscription was not worth it for me.
At that point, I decided that until I found something better, I would just use my favorite note taking app, Craft Docs, for my journal. And it has worked very well for me.
2. Organize your journal.
I love the flexibility of Craft Docs when it comes to organizing. In the video (see above), I’ll show you a complete overview of my diary and how I use Craft for my journal.
3. Stay flexible
I am never going to be the greatest journaler and if I have had a particularly boring day when all I did was work, I do not see the point in documenting it. I also do not write about my thoughts or feelings, I mainly want to keep a journal to remember my travels, what I liked and disliked, the people I met, things like that.
Occasionally, I write an entry every day, but typically, I do not. What I find very helpful, though, is that Craft takes the pressure off having to keep a journal every day. I just write a quick summary of what happened in the last two weeks – and then there’s no “half-empty” page to remind me that I did not journal every day.
4. Make it easy
I am much more likely to continue journaling if I make it as easy as possible.
First, I want to be able to access it on all my devices. With Craft, I can use my journal on my phone, my iPads, my computer and in a web browser. Anywhere I want.
I also wrote an iOS shortcut for my iPhone and iPad that I put on my home screen. It just gives me a quick prompt and adds that text, along with the current date and my location, to my journal in Craft. It’s so fast that even I can keep up.
And every so often I just add a few bullet points about the events of my day, and when I sit down to write a summary, I have something that sparks my memory.
You can download the shortcut here: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/c714d6364a6b408cb891945de754b2b4
Important. When you import a shortcut for the first time, you must give it permission. In the Shortcuts app settings, give it permission to add unknown shortcuts.
And if you want to learn more about Craft Docs, I have already created some tutorials for beginners on YouTube. You can find my playlist here.