There are a lot of ways to relax and wind down after a long day. For some people, cooking a nice dinner and relaxing with a favorite TV show does the trick. For others, nothing beats a glass of wine and a few hours reading a book on the patio. However, one of the best ways to blow off some steam and reflect on your day is to keep a journal, and it’s something that a lot of people simply don’t consider.

In the olden days, a journal usually meant some type of notebook designed specifically for keeping notes – possibly even with a lock for safekeeping. However, the boom in technology has given us an entirely new way to keep a journal, especially since most of us have a phone or some kind of electronic device close by at most times.

Common Features of Journal Apps

A cellphone and note for journal apps

For the most part, the journal apps you find are going to perform the same basic functions. You’ll be able to use text-to-speech or type whatever you want in your journal, and most apps even allow you to add media elements like photos. Of course, pricing is also going to be a factor since you can find both free and paid journal apps, and most of the free options allow you to purchase a full version.

You’ll also need to keep device compatibility in mind. First, you need to find a journal app that works with your phone whether you have an Android or iPhone. However, you should also think about whether you want to use the app with any other devices. Some journal apps are also available as a web app or as a Windows program or app, giving you another way to write in your journal when you don’t want to use your phone.

Organizational features are also important. Journal apps use lots of different organization methods, and some will inevitably be better suited to your needs than others. Perhaps you’re looking for a journal app with folders, or maybe you want a journal app that allows you to sort by colors, content or some other method. Regardless of what you prefer, finding a journal app that offers a good organization system is a must if you don’t want a mess of notes.

Other features to look for include the ability to export your journal and download it, an interface that you find easy to navigate and attractive, and a smooth process for making journal entries.

Day One

Making an entry in your journal is a good way to relieve some of the stress of the day, so it shouldn’t be a complicated process. If you’re looking for an app that’s easy to use and doesn’t offer a ton of complicated, clutter-causing features, Day One is a fabulous choice. Day One is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Android devices, so you can take your journal with you wherever you go. There is a free version of the app available, but you’ll only have to pay for the full version.

Penzu

Keeping a journal means trusting that everything you write will remain private. After all, you could simply write all your thoughts in a blog if you wanted others to read them. This is why Penzu puts such a heavy focus on making sure your journal is protected by double password protection and high-quality encryption. Penzu is available as a web app on your computer, an app for your iPhone or iPad, or an app for your Android tablet or phone.

Journey

If your biggest concern is being able to sync your journal across multiple devices so you can make entries no matter where you’re at, Journey is about as good as it gets. The journey is available for just about every device you can imagine, including Mac and Windows computers, Chrome OS computers, iOS, and Android devices, and even as a web app. The journey is free if you’re using it on Android or the web but costs money for Mac and Windows, and it also offers a $4.99 premium option for Android.

It’s a good journal app for you if you often have trouble remembering to make regular journal entries. Diarium will remind you each day to make an entry, so you don’t forget. You can attach all sorts of different media files to your journal entries and sync them using OneDrive, so your journal is always up to date. In fact, you can even integrate your social media activity into your journal.

Dabble.me

Just about everybody has some type of smartphone or tablet, but there are still some exceptions. Thankfully, there are ways to work around for just about every problem you could have. Dabble.me allows you to journal simply by sending an email rather than having to download an app on your iPhone or Android. This means that you can use a basic, older phone to journal as long as you have some way to send emails. If you want access to all of the premium features of Dabble.me, you’ll have to pay a fee a minimal amount per month.

Five Minute Journal

Part of keeping a journal is keeping a running tab of your life, but the other part of it is learning about yourself. Five Minute Journal is designed specifically to allow you to make quick journal entries, so you can easily keep a journal without worrying about wasting too much time. This handy journal app is available for both Android and iOS phones and tablets, and you’ll only have to spend a minimal amount to get all of the great features it offers.

Momento

If you’re looking for what’s probably the easiest way to keep a journal, Momento is what you need. Momento uses your social media activity to capture everything you do in life and add it to a journal. If you spend a day at the beach with a group of friends for your birthday, Momento will create a journal entry with the picture you took of your trip. Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily the best journal app to use if you’re not already a social media user.

Grid Diary

When it comes to keeping a journal, a simple process makes it a lot easier to keep up with consistent entries. This is why for many people the best journal app is one that makes it easy to quickly make a journal entry. Simplicity is exactly what Grid Diary does best, offering an intuitive layout that not only makes it easy for you to make journal entries, it also makes it easy for you to view your past journal entries. This app features a nice, clean layout that doesn’t make journaling a chore, and you only have to spend a reasonable one-time fee to get access to the premium features offered by Grid Diary.

Glimpses

For a lot of people, there are two different things that make a good app: a low price and good compatibility. If you’re using a Windows PC and are looking for a way to keep a journal without having to pay, Glimpses is a good choice. You won’t have to spend a cent to get started with Glimpses, and the simple interface and workflow make it easy to quickly add a journal entry. Unfortunately, this app is only available for Windows computers.

Universum

If you’re looking for a completely comprehensive journal solution for your Android device, you need Universum. Universum is designed to let you add any kind of entry to your journal, whether it’s a captioned picture, a drawing, or a list of your expenses for the day. You don’t have to pay a dime for this app if you don’t want to, but Universum does offer in-app purchases to give you more features.

Final Thoughts

Thoughts for journal apps

Keeping a journal is a great way to make sure you’re staying on top of everything that happens in your life and reflecting upon them as the moment’s pass. However, using difficult journal apps can make keeping a journal a real pain, and the last thing you want is to make things more of a hassle by keeping a journal.

As long as you stick to one of the options on this list, you’re getting a quality journal app that offers great privacy. Make sure you take a close look at all your different options and try the free versions of a few different apps if you want to get a real hands-on look.

 

Featured Image: CC0 by rawpexel via Pixabay