Day One / Blog

The Way I Journal: Chris Handy

[Day One] Who are you and what do you do?

[Chris] I’m Chris Handy (@chrishandy), a board game designer and publisher. You can learn about my games at www.perplext.com and my latest game project—Pack O Game—a collection of gum-pack-sized card games. I also write and record music for children.

When and why did you start journaling?

I started using Day One on November 28, 2011. I have created a single entry every night since. I did not journal in any way prior to using Day One. Initially, I was drawn to the UI and design aesthetic of the Day One app. I thought, “Hmmm… this might be kind of fun to just summarize each day with a little blurb…” I didn’t announce any crazy declaration like, “From this day forth, I will journal every hour, on the hour, for the rest of my life!” I simply opened the app, summarized my day before bed, then closed it. The next day, I did the same thing, and then each day since.

What is your journaling routine?

I journal exactly once a day just before going to sleep. It’s usually just a paragraph, as short as three sentences for boring days, and longer for more exciting ones. Keeping it in a “summary” form has helped me be consistent with my Once-A-Day-Before-Bed routine. If I knew I had to create longer, more detailed entries, I might not be as willing to keep up with it each day. Occasionally, I’ll forget (though, not very often anymore). If I do forget, I’ll usually create the entry the next morning, then backdate it to the night before. I always have a photo to represent something from that day. I’ve used movie posters, pictures of meals, my dog, the lady at the Post Office… just about anything. I try to get a picture of the most significant and meaningful part of my day. One of the great by-products of using the Day One app everyday is that I think about taking photos more often, as I know I’ll want one for my journal entry that day. Anything that makes you take more pictures is a good thing.

What was your first entry in Day One?

My first entry was quite short, and kinda lame. I can tell it was more of a test entry. It was about the day before. This is the only entry that is entered in the AM. It’s the second entry that feels more like a “first entry.” I remember seeing the Day One app on the first screen of my iPhone before bed that night, and thought, “I’ve already added one entry, I’ll add another to sum up the day.” From then on, I just continued that routine.

How many entries do you have in your journal?

Currently, I have 1372 entries. One for each day since 11/28/11.

What is your favorite or most-used feature in Day One?

When I began using the app, it didn’t have the photo feature. I was thrilled once they did, because a photo is very effective when scrolling through the entries and looking for specific experiences and stages in life. I’ve even gone back and attached photos to older entries that were entered before photos were a feature. So, I’d have to say that photos is the best feature. However, I was thrilled when search was added because it makes finding specific entries a snap. It has become essential when referencing older entries. It’s also kind of fun to use the “star” feature to highlight specific entries. In my case, I star days that I feel are excellent, well-rounded days of great food and experiences. Here are a few Starred entries:

Do you write mostly on the iPhone, iPad, or the Mac?

Usually I use my iPhone right before I plug it in for the night. Though, I’ve used it on iPad occasionally, too.

Have you ever relied on Day One for something unexpected, or used it to recall details about a specific event or date?

I search the entries, for one reason or another, nearly once a day. I believe that in addition to locking memories in digitally, it’s helping to solidify them in my brain. Day One has been especially useful in my game design iteration, as I’m able to reference the progress and timelines of game designs. I’ll continue my “once a day” routine and look forward to building a rich, valuable reference of my life and memories.

About the Interviewer

Dallas Petersen is Day One’s product manager by day (and some nights). When he’s not working, he’s hanging out with his wife and five kids and/or playing board games.