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Using Day One During Quarantine

Instead of going to Hawaii, we are staying home.

My wife and I recently cancelled our 15-year anniversary trip to Hawaii.

We’d been planning and saving for this trip since our 10-year anniversary. Alas, with the current state of the planet, we knew we’d have to cancel it, but we were putting it off. I think that in some part we were holding on to a hope that maybe we’d still get to go.

That’s just one moment among many that we did not anticipate for 2020.

We’ve now been at home for exactly 60 days.

And a few weeks ago, life at home seemed to finally “settle in” to a new type of normal. I also recently reached that stage of quarantine where I’m ordering artisanal pickling spice off Amazon.

Day One on the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

Over these past few months, I have been giving more attention to my daily habit of writing. Not just my morning writing routine, but also writing in my Day One journal.

There are three things I like about having a journaling habit:

  1. It helps me process through the stuff (in real-time).
  2. It helps me document the good and bad things (so I can remember and re-visit).
  3. It’s a good way to spend some time each day.

Never before have these three things been more prevalent to my life than over the past 60 days of life during Covid. I’ll share some specifics on that in a minute.

The app I’ve been using for this is, of course, Day One.

As far as my short list of must-have apps for quarantine, I put Day One right up there next to a good recipe app and a package tracker.

Note: Our popular video course, Day One in Depth, is available now.

Day One is a fantastic journaling app, and I’ve been using it for years. Under normal circumstances, my journaling cadence is about one or two entries per week.

However, since quarantine life began, I’ve been trying to write in my Day One journal as close to daily as possible. This is an app that gets better the more you use it. 1

Day One has been an incredibly helpful tool as I navigate life in this pandemic. Every day I try to take a few minutes to jot down some highlights and thoughts from my day, and I’ll try to include a photo or two from the day if I have one.

As I mentioned above, it’s helping me process through the stuff of day-to-day life.

Sometimes all I put into Day One are the little things: the quick wins and the simple notes…

  • The day we did a curbside pickup from Williams Sonomoa for a new waffle maker and then promptly had waffles for dinner.

  • The day we introduced our young boys to Monopoly (and lost to our 6-year-old).

  • The day I finally organized the rats-nest of cables that used to be dangling behind my desk.

  • The first time I wore gloves and a painter’s mask to go grocery shopping for my family as well as for my older parents, only to see most of the people at the store walking around as if nothing was happening.

  • The weekends I have spent building furniture and the slow, intentional progress I made working on our new coffee table.

  • The day I grilled a couple of delicious steaks.

In fact, I’d say that most days my Day One entries are short and simple. They are status updates to myself.

But there are certainly days when I need to process through something difficult and I just need to write it down and get it out.

  • Such as that day I processed through how it felt when I cancelled my wife’s and my anniversary trip to Hawaii.

  • Or the day I found out my bank had made a huge error with my PPP loan application and thus it was never even submitted to SBA.

  • Or the day when I felt like I had hit an emotional wall and things were just numb for a bit and I didn’t know why.

  • Or the day I got our April financials back and realized that we’d had our most profitable April ever.

Day One on the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

Day One is the safe place for me to write my thoughts, ideas, and the things happening.

Basically, Day One is helping me now as I use it to process the challenges and stress of life under quarantine. I know that in a few years from now I will revisit these Covid-centric journal entries with perhaps a bit of fondness. No doubt my future self will have much to glean from my present self.

. . . . .

And so yes, obviously I’m an advocate for this app. But only because it has helped me and enabled me with consistent journaling for nearly a decade now.

The tool itself is not nearly as important as the process and outcomes that are the result of consistent journaling.

And especially in these current times, by setting aside a few minutes each day to simply document and perhaps process what has happened, it can go a long way in putting one foot in front of the other.

Wait! There’s more….

How to Use Day One in Your Life

For a the best journaling app, you won’t do better than Day One. And if you want to discover how to use this app more regularly, and take full advantage of all its features, then we have some video screencasts that can help you.

In our course, Day One in Depth, you get 8 video screencasts that will take you line by line through every feature, setting, preference, and option found in Day One.

We’ll show you…

  • Complete walkthrough of the Mac and iOS apps.
  • How to create and customize your journal entries (from text, to photo, to audio)
  • How to find, filter, export, and more.

Plus! You will get bonus tips, workflows, and tutorials for how best to use Day One to suit your own needs: from a morning writing time to a photographic travel log, to weekly reviews and productivity journaling — Day One can do it all and we will show you how.


  1. One of the reasons Day One gets better the more you use it is because it keeps the GPS location of where a journal entry was located. Then, you can use a map view to see all of the locations you’ve been and recorded journal entries. Well, for the past 60 days worth of entries, they have all been created in one place: Here. At my home.