Influential Technology (Part 1): Day One Journal App

I created this blog with the intent to share my thoughts on the various influential and motivational aspects of life. In addition, I often contribute my thoughts on various issues that inspire me to think introspectively and take decisive action. Technology is an aspect of life that influences me on a daily basis. In the Information Age, technology plays an integral role in our daily lives. While many may suggest that technology has made our lives easier, one could also argue that technology has complicated the way we live. Regardless of your perspective on the usefulness of technology, there are numerous benefits that can be gained from the proper integration and utilization of technology. In this series on influential technology, I will highlight various technology products and services that have influenced me in a positive way. Hopefully this discussion will positively influence how you view technology and inspire you to simplify the increasingly complex nature of life in the Information Age.
 

Day One App IconDay One Journal App

I began using the Day One app less than two months ago as a way to reap the benefits of writing more regularly in a journal. After failing to fully utilize the pen/paper approach to jotting down thoughts and ideas, I decided to look for alternatives. In the past, I typically wrote down thoughts and ideas on a folded sheet of paper that I would carry around in my pocket. The experience of losing and/or misplacing the sheet of paper led to me seek a dedicated journal. I shopped around and settled on the Moleskine brand of leather-bound journals primarily for aesthetic reasons, but also because they’re everywhere. One day, while perusing Brothatech’s blog, I came across the Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook. Given my infatuation with the Evernote platform (which I will discuss in a separate post), I purchased the notebook for use as my dedicated journal. After a few months, I realized that I only used the Moleskine journal in situations where using a mobile device was not possible or advisable, or was distracting to others. Despite the beauty of my prized journal, my thoughts and ideas seldomly graced the journal’s pages.  Instead, I would capture notes with various apps on my laptop, smartphone and tablet.

While researching various journaling apps, I came across Day One , which just so happened to be free for a limited time. The Day One app is a beautifully, yet simplistically, designed app that offers essential journaling capabilities. The app provides basic text editing features and allows a single image to be attached to each journal entry. It is a multi-platform (iOS, MacOS) app that offers syncing functionality across multiple devices through Dropbox or iCloud. With the Day One Journal app, I have been able to write more regularly, using my laptop, smartphone and/or tablet. The app has the look/feel of common social media platforms and arranges each journal entry in a timeline view. It contains a notification feature that allows reminders to be sent to me when I’ve gone a certain period of time with creating a new journal entry. Also, using my smartphone’s dictation feature, I’m able to create new voice-to-text journal entries on the go. The app allows past journal entries to be edited, which is useful when the voice recognition software misinterprets my words.

If you want to get into the habit of writing more regularly and have not had success with the traditional pen/paper approach, consider the Day One Journal app as a useful tool to help encourage writing on a more frequent basis. There are other apps that offer features similar to Day One Journal, however, I wanted an app that was solely dedicated to journaling. The last thing I need is to be distracted when writing. For those who are wondering about the usefulness of a journaling app, as opposed to using a basic text editor, keep in mind that I said the same thing about tablets before purchasing one.

The realization of my preference for jotting down thoughts and ideas on my mobile devices was initially shocking. In the past, I took pride in using pen/paper to capture the fruits of my brainstorming sessions. Now, with the proliferation of technology products, the ways in which I accomplish various tasks have drastically changed, leading to an increased dependence on these products. Thankfully, software developers have been busy at work trying to fully utilize the potential of technology to make our lives easier, and the team at Bloom has designed a very effective journaling app that serves as a worthy replacement for my Moleskine notebook.  Technology wins again!

Day One Journal (iOS, $4.99; MacOS, $9.99), Website, Facebook, TwitterDay One App Icon 2

The Puzzle Pieces of Life

Puzzle piecesOne day, while pondering my life experiences, the proverbial light bulb when off. I realized that my various experiences were merely pieces of a puzzle. When I was a child, I took great pride in my ability to solve complex puzzles. I would dump all of the pieces on the table and attempt to create piles full of related pieces. Even with the puzzle pieces scattered across the table, I was still able to visually link them together. Applying my puzzle-solving logic to life allowed me to realize that my various experiences represented scattered puzzle pieces that fit somewhere in the bigger picture of my life’s journey.

We are often bewildered by the various events that take place during our life. Some events are joyous occasions, while others remind us of the worst aspects of life. Regardless, the experience we gain from dealing with various events can be simply viewed as another puzzle piece added to the picture of our life. Now that I am in my thirties, I’ve come to understand how certain experiences in my past fit into the overall puzzle. Some of these experiences are cumulative to a degree, and serve to prepare us for something greater that we may not yet understand.

With this perspective in mind, as we go about our daily lives, we must seek to understand how each of our experiences fit into the collective picture of our lives. While that picture may never be fully complete, focusing on the linkages between the various experiences can aid in achieving a level of clarity. I truly believe that we all have a destiny to fulfill, and that the experiences we gain through life are intended to bring us closer to understanding our purpose. If we fail to fit the pieces of our life together, we may miss out on seeing the big picture. So, the next time you experience something amazing, or heartbreaking, take a moment to think about how that experience fits into the bigger picture. Try your best to understand what you are supposed to gain from that experience, and how it can be applied as you move forward in life. It is then that we can truly understand not only who we are, but what we are destined to become.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Kids“What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?” This is a common question posed to youth across the globe. The popular career paths are always given as a response…doctor, lawyer, teacher, police officer, fire fighter, etc. At a young age, can children really answer this question? Many of use choose our career paths based on the influences in our lives. If there is a particular family member we admired along the way, then we tend to follow in their footsteps. Sometimes career choices are driven by the parent’s desire for their children to have a stable job and make a decent living. The career choices we make end up being a good fit for some and a not so good fit for others. To help ensure that youth pursue the optimal career paths, here are several things adults can do: 1) Determine the child’s interests, 2) Expose them to various things, 3) Understand their personality types and behavioral characteristics, 4) Know or find out what it takes to be successful in various careers, and 5) Ensure the child has the prerequisites to compete and achieve.

When I was a child, my parents noticed that I was very curious by nature. I wanted to know anything about everything and asked a million questions. For a parent, I’m sure a constantly inquisitive child could become very annoying. My mother, being formally trained as a social worker, had the brilliant idea of giving me various sources of information to digest. I remember this green box she ordered from some magazine. It was shaped like a lunch box and contained over 1000 different animal fact cards. Each card had a picture of an animal with the scientific name and other facts on the back. I would spend hours reading each fact card and even carried the green box to school to share with friends. Along the way the box became a distant memory, but at the time it was one of my prized possessions. A few years later my parents ordered a set of World Book encyclopedias for my siblings and me. I was astonished at the wealth of information contained in each book and was determined to read them cover to cover. I never achieved that goal but became a walking, talking knowledge bank in the process. What I didn’t realize as a child was that my parents were trying to understand what interested me. This would help guide them in the various things they would expose me to.

It has been often said that people are products of their environment. I’m sure somewhere science has proven this statement to be true. If you look across America, there are endless examples of this. Take the kid who grows up in the crime-ridden, drug-infested neighborhood and sees the criminal living a lavish lifestyle. In some cases the kid observes the criminal’s lifestyle and aspires to peddle drugs as well. What about the kid who observed their parents running a family-owned business as a child that grows up to become a successful entrepreneur? These stories are common across the country and further confirm the previously mentioned statement. It is known that for many, perception determines reality. In regards to youth, what they are exposed to helps them develop a vision of what they can become as adults. So when parents ask their children the question about who they want to become as adults, they must also consider what they are exposing their children to and how environmental factors will influence their child’s decision.

 

This Can’t Be Life

Jay-Z once said, “This can’t be life, there’s gotta be more…” I feel like that often, and at times, the thing we call life can seem overrated. We go through life and at the end of the day, we’ve rarely fully utilized our potential and talents to make the world a better place than it was when we arrived. Some may say, “who cares?” But if you share my ideology on life, then you also believe we were placed here for a purpose. No one knows exactly what our purpose is, but our creator spent his life spreading love, and helping those that needed help. He fed the hungry and healed the sick, amongst many other things. If we are to live in His image, then we must spend our lives doing the same…spreading love.