Journaling: What Is The Best Platform?

I have long since some to the conclusion that journaling can be a useful process. If nothing else, it allows me the ability to rant so that I don’t have to do it publicly on my blog. Sometimes I find it helpful to journal my way through a problem or to sort out my thoughts. I don’t always follow this, but it does help at times.

The biggest problem I’ve had is: which client makes the best journal? Some people say that it’s better to keep a written notebook and write everything in pen. This has never worked very well for me. For one thing, my handwriting is bad. To this day, as a 34 year old man, when people ask me "can’t you do anything about your handwriting?" I reply with either "why do you think I took a job as an engineer?" or the more blunt "If I couldn’t improve my handwriting for my 3rd grade teacher, what makes you think I can do it for you?" I do hope that my journals will be useful to my children or grandchildren when I am eventually gone, and the last thing I want to be remembered for is my poor handwriting.

So, what options do I have?

Pen and Paper– we just discussed and dismissed that option.

Voice Notes– I never took this seriously as a journaling option. It might work at times, but I find this better as a short term method to record thoughts rather than a long term method to work thorugh problems, record life experience, and leave a record for posterity.

Microsoft Word– Microsoft Word is a viable option for keeping my journal. My Pocket PC does have Pocket Word, so I can sync my journal between my laptop and my Pocket PC. I have done this in the past.

Microsoft OneNote– I am currently using OneNote with OneNote Mobile on my Pocket PC. However, since I started syncing with my work laptop as well, for some reason, my journal notes aren’t syncing correctly and this is driving me nuts. One thing I like about OneNote is that I can place markers within my journal for follow-up items.

Evernote– I used to use Evernote. I liked Evernote 2.x, but eventually development stalled and I switched to OneNote after I got Office 2007. With Evernote, I can keep each journal entry as a single note, but this was a pain the last time when I collected all of my Evernote journals to put into OneNote. Evernote now has Evernote Mobile for both Windows Mobile and my iPod Touch, and everything is stored online. Evernote could be a viable option once more, or at least I could switch back to it until a more permanent solution is found.

The Journal– I learned about this one from Steve Pavlina. There is a free 45 day trial. I discovered that this counts 45 uses rather than 45 days, and I admired that trial formula. It seems that every time I download demo software, I never get a chance to use it and I can run out a 14 or 30 day trial in no time. I respected The Journal’s trial. The interface was easy to use. I think I was afraid of being locked into a format though, which is why I didn’t use it. That and I can’t always talk my wife into $40 for software. She doesn’t often agree with my reasons for needing something.

I may start switching my journal back to Evernote and see what happens.

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