A couple of months ago my mind was racing so much in the night with an idea, at 3 am I had to get up and write it down, and i’ve been mulling and working on it ever since! I had been thinking about how my 20-something boys keep pushing boundaries, striving toward goals and challenges and how if I could somehow harness some of my ideas (which seem to come at me from all angles), keep them organized, i could and would want to accomplish more and more.
I thought about the Power of Habit, apps like Duolingo and games like Sudoku, which prompt you to play and learn, and how you build on your knowledge just by getting into the habit. I thought, if there was some way that you could be prompted to create a habit of writing your thoughts, dreams, ideas, goals down, you might be pushed to challenge your ideas, improve your daily entries, possibly making connections between entries so that you could reach a point of wanting to achieve more, strive to new heights, DO more.
I also figured that by writing each day I would increase my memory stimulation which would not only help my aging mind (!) but the idea-/thought-generation (ideation) required would help with my neuroplasticity and also create a positive feeling of achievement, of “not losing it”, of having a real sense of worth.
I’ve tried keeping a journal over the years and I know many people who do, my son included. There is something de-stressing about writing your thoughts and getting them off your mind and on paper. What is tough for some people though is getting into the habit of keeping a journal and finding a usefulness for just writing your musings down. What I wanted to achieve with this idea was a way of creating a positive habit of pushing yourself to make connections between thoughts, set goals, challenge yourself and I wanted an easy way to record this in this age of technology, where you could be prompted to write each day, to have at the ready your words and ideas so you could access entries, thoughts more readily, from anywhere, in order to push you to set goals or harness ideas.
SO my first step was to do some research and see if there were any apps out there that could accomplish what I intended. At first I searched through “brain training” apps and found the likes of Memorado and Elevate and then found “note taking” and “task manager” type apps like Simplenote and Swipes and Trello. The former were not really what I was aiming at and the latter were too business oriented and didn’t have the feel I was going for. Then I came upon Journey (for Android, which is what I have) and Day One 2 (for iOs). Both got great reviews and do almost exactly the same thing, but because I have an Android I started using Journey.
Research Part 2
So a week ago today, I downloaded the app and lo and behold it was very much (as far as I can tell so far) what I was thinking of. Even the opening description is:
Embark on the journey of self-improvement towards a better life, love and health, start journaling today!
There is space for entries, which then are listed in reverse chronological order. You can tag an entry to more easily find it later. They are time and date stamped and include your geographical location, the weather and what activity if any you are doing while writing! And you can input up to 4 photos or videos per entry. For my purposes, the only really important features of these are the time and date stamp and the tags. All else is superfluous to my idea. And in settings you can set a reminder and the font style and size, so important for some of us!
I use it on- or off-line and it syncs so I can see my entries on the journey.cloud website, although my tags aren’t visible or accessible if I wanted to write on the cloud. I have also enjoyed reading some of the inspirational quotes which have prompted some musings, though I haven’t run out of things to write about on my own yet and do revisit entries multiple times and ruminate some more on what I’ve written.
The question remains
Only time will tell whether I continue to write and challenge myself, and connect ideas…and continue to use this app. Or will pain points creep in and make me want to improve upon this idea and possibly an app of my own. My plan now is to discuss the idea of the app with others my age, who might find journaling useful for them at this point in their lives, to improve their memory and stimulate positive thinking. I also think journaling would be helpful to anyone going through a stressful time or transition or for youth coming out of the tough teenage years. Really anyone could benefit.
So stay tuned and let me know if you use another efficient or enjoyable app to journal and expand your mind and push your boundaries!