For the past 12 years, Josh Kincaid has been dedicated to journaling, finding solace and self-reflection through the process.
In this interview, Josh shares the importance of cataloging his story, his evolving journaling habits, and the valuable insights he has gained from keeping a journal. With a unique integration of Siri Shortcuts and Day One, Josh showcases how technology enhances his journaling experience.
“Planting a Stake in My Life”: The Significance of Journaling
Journaling has become a powerful tool for Josh to navigate life’s challenges, find resilience, and celebrate personal growth. Josh explains:
“Journaling allows me to plant a stake in my life at any given time so that I can clarify my current thoughts as well as reflecting on my past so that it may give me insight to my future. Everyone is worth remembering. Even if it’s me remembering my past self, my story is worthy of cataloging.”
“Journaling allows me to plant a stake in my life at any given time so that I can clarify my current thoughts as well as reflecting on my past so that it may give me insight to my future.”
Evolving Journaling Themes and Habits
Over the years, Josh’s journaling themes have evolved. Josh explains, “I enjoy seeing how my entries ebb and flow over time. It happens frequently enough that I will link to previous entries and offer a director’s commentary for myself. I would say that my most popular entries are for the daily writing prompts (either Day One-generated or my own). I also like to do a 2-3 minute recap of the day.”
By embracing flexibility and adapting his journaling routine to different moments, Josh ensures that every day is worth remembering.
Josh’s Tips for Building a Fulfilling Journaling Habit
Josh’s advice for building a journaling habit revolves around journaling less and intentionally limiting oneself to a few sentences or a photo. By avoiding the pressure to write lengthy entries, journaling becomes a joyful pursuit rather than a daunting task. Josh also encourages preserving all entries, even the painful ones, as they provide an opportunity for growth and reflection.
He explains: “Journal LESS. If you sit down with the notion that you have to write a novella each time you begin an entry, you’ll quit. But if you intentionally limit yourself to a few sentences or a photo, you’ll begin to have moments where you’ll WANT to write in your journal, and you’ll want to chase the ambition of filling your journal with your life’s stories.
“Don’t delete anything. No matter how painful an entry may be, you’ll want to look back on it. Hide it if you must.”
“Journal LESS. If you sit down with the notion that you have to write a novella each time you begin an entry, you’ll quit. But if you intentionally limit yourself to a few sentences or a photo, you’ll begin to have moments where you’ll WANT to write in your journal, and you’ll want to chase the ambition of filling your journal with your life’s stories.”
Discovering the Value of Past Entries
Josh highlights the true value of journaling as the ability to look back on past entries and witness personal growth over time. Recovering entries from a difficult period in his life allowed him to view them with more kindness, realizing that life had indeed improved. In this way, journaling reinforced the resilience he possessed and became a testament to the transformative power of time and personal reflection.
“While penning one’s thoughts in the moment indeed can provide certain benefits, being able to see how one has grown over a week, month, year is where the real value is. In the mid-2010s, I remember deleting my Day One account altogether after having endured a rough break up. Somehow almost ten years later I was able to recover those entries, and I was able to look upon them with kinder eyes, and it brought me great comfort knowing that however angsty past me was, life would get infinitely better.”
The Power of “On This Day” and the iOS Share Sheet
The Day One app offers Josh a range of features that enhance his journaling experience. The “On This Day” feature is his go-to, allowing him to reminisce about the good and bad moments from years past.
He explains, “On This Day is my bread and butter. It is so fun to go back and reminisce on the good times (and bad) of what life was like years back. I have to try and not skip ahead to keep reading my entries.”
Additionally, he leverages the Day One iOS share sheet to easily add links and quotes from his Kindle books to his journal.
Siri Shortcuts: How Josh Streamlines the Journaling Process with Multiple Journals
Josh’s integration of Siri Shortcuts truly takes his journaling to the next level. Josh’s custom journal shortcuts not only save time, but also provide unique and personalized ways to document his life. Through a master shortcut in his iOS dock, he gains access to sub-shortcuts for different types of journal entries.
He explains, “Now we get to the fun part. I’m a hardcore Siri Shortcuts user, and Day One’s deep hooks into the Shortcuts app make making specific kinds of entries a breeze.”
A Look at Josh’s Journals
From opening the journal, generating random prompts, and recording handwritten entries with his Apple Pencil, to reflecting on memories, dreams, and even capturing The New York Times front page, Josh’s shortcuts enable him to interact with Day One dynamically and efficiently across multiple journals.
“I have several journals, each are written in concurrently. My main journal is “The Record,” a nod to the phrase “for the record,” because most of my journaling is quick snippets of my life.”
“Probably the most interesting journal for others would be the Times Capsule (more on that next.)
“I’ve gotten away from using my other journals. Fitness is where I catalog my notable bike rides and hikes. I don’t to post to Instagram much.
“Resilience may be of help to some folks. Using Shortcuts, I would assign a 1 to 7 rating for my day, and the resulting rating would create an entry with a color of the rainbow (red=1, violet=7), so I could see my month at a glance using the Calendar view option!
Capturing The New York Times Front Page
“For my Times Capsule journal, I have a Siri Shortcut to grab today’s New York Times front page.
“Especially as society begins to go forth from the pandemic era, it’s fascinating to see what zeitgeist captivated the collective hearts and minds in years past.
“The shortcut runs at 1pm daily and automatically saves the image to my Times Capsule journal. Times Capsule is also included in my On This Day, so I can see what was happening in the world at the same time as my entries.”
Josh’s Creative Use of Siri Shortcuts for Day One
“I use the daily prompt almost daily, but the real magic of my journaling comes from my Siri Shortcuts.
“I have one master shortcut in my iOS dock that expands to a menu of sub-shortcuts containing:
- Random memory: selects one day from my very first entries from 2015 and lists all of them.
- Gift: for remembering who gave me what and for what occasion.
- Dream log: a place to log interesting dreams I have
- Random prompt: (a self selected bank of 500+ questions, ranging from my favorite moments from Top Gear to writing a letter to someone I’ve wronged
- Handwritten entry: a PDF opens and I can pen an entry with my Apple Pencil, that tags it appropriately so I can view all of my handwritten entries in one place
- 1 year ago today: much like Day One’s on this day feature
- Simple text: opens a blank text box
- Marriage laughs: when something between my wife and I makes us belly laugh, I add it here so that in a year we can share the memory all over again.
- Open journal
“I have even more shortcuts than that, but that’s the menu that pops up. It makes Day One more dynamic and allows me to interact with the app more quickly than creating all of those entries manually. I have other shortcuts that do even more interesting things, but I don’t wish to bombard you all at once. Day One web is also incredible because my work machine is a PC and I can’t download any personal software on it, so being able to type out entries on the web is a must!
“Lastly, I also have Ray Ban smart glasses that allow me to capture videos and photos of my day that I LOVE because it allows for recording of everyday things and it’s not a big moment of getting my phone out. I also use the recording feature on my Apple Watch, and have a shortcut set up for the Action Button to turn off the display so that the giant recording button isn’t visible.”
Finally, Josh offers, “I’m somewhat active on the Day One Community Facebook group, and specifics to my shortcut gallery can be found here. I’ve proudly adapted my shortcuts from users all across the internet, but I’m happy to help where I can.”
Embracing the Power of Journaling Over 800 Days
In addition to creative ways that Josh uses Day One, he also has an impressive journal streak. “I LOVE Day One. I’ve gotten my brother in law to begin using it, and today actually marks my 800 day streak!”
By embracing the significance of every day, Josh has cultivated a habit that celebrates the beauty of life’s moments, big and small. Josh’s dedication to journaling serves as an inspiration to others, reminding us of the power of self-expression, the value of preserving our stories, and the transformative journey that unfolds through the written word.
Whether it’s recording a simple sentence or penning a heartfelt reflection, journaling with intention can unlock a world of self-discovery and meaningful connections. As Josh continues to document his life’s adventures, he invites others to embark on their own journaling journeys, knowing that each entry is a testament to their unique story worth remembering.
Start Journaling Today with Day One
The Day One journaling app makes it easy to build and maintain a daily journaling habit. Daily journaling reminders, daily writing prompts, and journal streaks are designed to help keep you motivated and consistently journaling.