Exactly one year ago I wrote a blog “7 Apps to Organize Your Life” which got a lot of attention. I want to update that list with another app I’ve been using to organize my life and go paperless, and the great thing is, it’s FREE during Apple’s “5 Years of the Mac App Store” (till Bastille Day ~ July 14th). Don’t worry if you catch up on this blog after that date…I paid for it and don’t regret spending the price of a cup of coffee for a good tool.
The app is called “Day One” and lets compare it to the other options. Firstly, Apple’s own native yellow legal pad “Notes” app. When I was a student I always used yellow legal note pads, so this app had a certain sense of familiarity to it. It was a no frills solution, open and type, and one of the first apps to sync seamlessly across all your devices – iMac, Macbook, iPad and/or iPhone.
But for a robust user like me, Notes soon became inadequate. There are no tags so my list of notes is simply chronological. However when you edit, Notes changes the date of the entry and no longer remembers the date you first created it. Dating may not be so important for writing books, but for those looking for journaling and diary solutions, that would be annoying.
After trying several notes alternatives, I found Awesome Note HD and stuck with it for a while. It offered 2 ways of organization: folders and tags. This was much more robust that Apple’s Notes. It also syncs with iCalendar, which is extremely powerful and keeps things very neat. But I lost the ability to sync with my desktop and laptop.
So I had to go back to jotting down quick thoughts on Notes when I was on my computer, or Word or Pages, while I used Awesome Note on my iPad, and pretty soon keeping track of all my notes became a second job.
Day One is primarily a journaling tool, so at first I didn’t think it was for me. The moment you write a new entry in Day One, it records the time, date, location, and even temperature and weather of that day. That’s very cool for diary keepers. But what about collecting thoughts for sermons, presentations, books, and prayer sheets (I have made some of my own personal prayers available to the public ~ feel free to download them by clicking “Pray” on the nav bar menu here)?
Day One won me over when I realize it combined the best features of Apple’s Notes and Awesome Note HD. Day One syncs all my notes across all my devices and computers. It organizes my notes by tags and dates. It can back up to iCloud or Dropbox for my security and peace of mind. It offers password protection which is increasingly important in a world where our privacy is no longer sacrosanct.
I have also been won over by the date keeping feature of Day One. The Bible promises, “And it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see VISIONS, Your old men shall dream DREAMS” (Acts 2:17 Joel 2:28). There has been a marked increase in the activity of the Holy Spirit: many around me and myself included are receiving dreams which seem to be from the Lord. I am encouraging Christians to record these dreams and date them. Day One is a possible solution, especially if the visions and dreams become regular. Not all dreams come from God, so we should always compare them with Scriptures and ask wise people like Joseph to get their insight.
I am also encouraging my church members to keep their daily devotions in one place. I do my daily devotions to record how God wants me to be different today because of what I just read from the Bible. Our church follows Pastor Wayne Cordeiro’s Life Journaling program – available for free at Discover Ministries website and also within the Blue Letter Bible app’s “Daily Bible Reading,” which our team helped develop.
Whereas I link my life journals to a Bible passage more than to a day (that’s how a teacher’s mind thinks), the majority of Christians I know link their daily devotions to a particular day. If that’s your style, Day One could work for you.
Is there room for improvement for Day One? Yes, in three areas. Tags are uneditable once you create them, and they should be. You also cannot refine your search using multiple tags, like most Apple programs allow you to (e.g. iTunes, Mac Mail).
Finally, many writers pay for a program called Scrivener to author their books, yet Day One could nearly compete with this powerful program by adding one simple feature: the ability to view and edit 2 entries at the same time (called parallel view). Scrievner has this ability and writers pay big bucks for it. Nearly all Bible apps have this ability to see 2 Bible versions at the same time or to see one Bible version plus your own notes. It’s becoming more common and is more versatile than the single view. Someone should tell the developer these tips!
Life is a series of days, each of which we get an opportunity to make it better, till we reach what the Bible calls the “Perfect Day” (Proverbs 4:18). Planning and organizing your thoughts is a BIG part of attaining the “Perfect Day“. Every time you organize your thoughts and submit them to the Holy Spirit, you are having a “win”! I don’t know about you, but I need lots of little wins to keep me motivated and invigorated. I pray this tip about Day One might contribute to your perfect day. Check out my 2-part teaching for more on it!
As of this post you have 24 hours to get Day One for free.
What other apps would you recommend to others? Please post below.