Keeping a daily note?

Do you keep a daily note, something like a bullet journal? Tell us about it if you do, please?

I’ve been intrigued by this for months, but only done it occasionally. Value would be a “have done” list – I could look back and see everything I did, large and small, that day. Additionally, possibly a running to-do list – but how would I integrate it with Things?

If you do keep such a daily note, do you use specialized software for it, such as Agenda or Noteplan, or even Roam or Obsidian?

Do you also use OmniFocus, Things, Reminders or other task managers, to complement the daily note?

And do you also have a journal?

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I do it most days. In Things, I have a task “Write Daily Note for Today” that repeats “1 day after the previous item is check off”. I put the notes of the day in Notes, including phone-call notes, thoughts, etc. This plus all the marked done notes that go into Things’ Logbook is all there.

For me, integrated with Things automatically. Until you mentioned that, it didn’t occur to me that it was “integrated”. I don’t need any other apps or complications. I do use other tools for my writing/thinking deliverables, but not for this sort of stuff. Simple.

Any daily note that I would want to archive/store for history purposes beyond the Logbook, I’d simply print to PDF and put into my personal DEVONthink database.

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I use Day One for this. A combination of Day One templates and the app’s reminders feature. The reminder causes a new note to open from the Mac’s menu bar, ready to edit based on the prompts in my custom template, every evening. If I have nothing to say, then I dismiss that day’s note.

I don’t write a lot, just a few sentences. And not every day. But it brings a kind of focus and closure to the day. Before I started this routine with Day One basically shoving the note in my face with “hey, write something here…”, I had OmniFocus reminders to do a daily note that I routinely ignored.

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I’ve done this on and off for a very long time, and I think I’ve worked through all the apps: Day One, NotePlan, Agenda, GoodNotes, et al.

I’ve worked through a few paper versions as well - notably the Cortex Journal and a Bullet Journal.

What I’m using now, and seems to be most effective (albeit not the most beautiful) is a daily Markdown note in DevonThink. I have DevonThink automatically create a new note for the day at 12:01am via its Reminders system. I jot various things down into it. Notes of events, records of conversations, etc. I use the wiki linking in DevonThink to add value to the individual notes.

I don’t keep to-dos in it because I use OmniFocus as my central task manager.

I also use Day One as a journal of personal reflections. And I am slowly building a zettelkasten of knowledge nuggets in text files indexed by The Archive, Obsidian and DevonThink.

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Good choice. :+1:

Reminders is a newer feature that not everyone understands how to create in DEVONthink. Could you share your method in more detail?

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I can’t take much credit for the workflow because I was supported by the fine folk on the DevonThink forum.

But essentially, I have attached a reminder trigger to a particular “Daily Notes” folder in my DevonThink structure. This is available in the “Annotations & Reminders” sidebar.

I have set a daily reminder for 12:01am to run an embedded script. The embedded script is:

-- Create daily markdown record via reminder

on performReminder(theGroup)
	tell application id "DNtp"
		set theDate to do shell script "date \"+%A %d %B %Y\""
		set theName to do shell script "date \"+%Y%m%d\""
		create record with {name:theName, type:markdown, plain text:"# " & theDate & linefeed & linefeed & "- "} in theGroup
	end tell
end performReminder

This creates a new file for the day. I keep it open in a separate little window and just edit it through the day.

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Very nice, thank you @Drewster.

Does DEVONthink have to be running and the Mac awake at 12:01 AM? If the machine is shut down for a few days, does the creation get skipped for those days DEVONthink wasn’t running?

Sorry, I could ask at DEVONthink but figured it might. be relevant to this thread.

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For me, it’s a daily markdown note in Drafts, triggered by an iOS Shortcut as part of a series of morning “start up” actions. My task management is relatively lo-fi— aside from notes/writing, Drafts is my primary store for actionable items; I link specific drafts to Reminders if I need to track a date-dependent deadline for something. My daily note serves as the dashboard I refer to regularly, listing an overview for the day, links to the day’s calendar items, reminders, other drafts containing the day’s date, a list of currently active reading items, and a quote or aphorism to reflect on. I start the day with a journal entry, then whittle down the list to ensure it reflects my intentions for the day, and continue refining as I go.

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I’d encourage folks in this thread to listen to Ryder Carroll’s conversation with @MacSparky and @mikeschmitz: https://pca.st/episode/a7c931e8-a3aa-4ffd-994e-81daf60a42a5

Yes, it’s about bullet journalling (“bujo”), but bujo is really just a marketing term for a daily note practice. Ryder’s thinking on it is clearly well-steeped, and I think many of his points are as applicable in the digital realm as they are with pen and paper. Someday I might read the book

My own daily note “practice” involves logging the things I intend to do throughout the day, completing them when they’re done, and writing out some of the things I’ve thought about.

Linking to different files as I go with Obsidian (and DEVONthink) has been neat, as it’s a lot easier to go back in time to find the things I was working on.

Right now this practice is pretty stochastic. Over time, I hope to become more diligent and capture/reference everything. I think the result of this practice will be to a little more creation-focused. That is, if I’m always writing what I’m thinking about, and I’m linking to the things I’m thinking about and writing in those too, I should be writing more overall, and those outputs should eventually be useful.

We shall see!

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Oh, another thing, separate from the above.

Daily notetaking can’t seem to replace weekly reviews (or whatever the equivalent is in your system).

This might be obvious already, but it wasn’t for me. The difference in pace between daily and weekly reflection seemed insignificant, at first. As I started with daily notes it felt like weekly reviews were redundant. After a year or so of practice, though, I can say that both are important. When I neglected doing reviews, things slipped, even if I was keeping good daily notes.

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I am sorry but could you point me in the direction of how to set this up please? I am a complete newbie!

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page 112 of the DEVONthink pro manual covers this. put the above script into the reminder for the selected folder as an embedded script.

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This has all been very helpful. Thank you to all of you.

I have journaled sporadically but frequently over the years. In February I started making a daily practice of it – first thing in the morning. That fell by the wayside when the weather got hot and I had to go out and exercise first thing in the morning to beat the heat.

As is often the case, phrasing the question – in this case, writing the message at the top of this thread – helped define the answer. I want to create a record of significant events of the day, things I got done, large and small, and also, often, set aside a few things on my to-do list that are top-of-mind.

I think I will start by going back to writing short tweet-like notes in Day One and see where it leads me.

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Oh man, the book is worth it, even if it just sparks some ideas in your other systems.

@MitchWagner I use a bullet journal. It is both past, present, and future. He encourages not putting stuff on the monthly spread until it happens.

I use a digital calendar still and write down my meeting list in the morning, then as it happens I take notes, sort and simple.

I use Evernote for some teaching stuff like document collection and lesson reflections, and I collaborate with Google docs and Airtable.

Occasionally I’ll use reminders.

I really like the Bullet Journal because it’s supposed to be just information, an observation of yourself and your tasks at a certain point in time. “Journaling” always seems to be too much pressure for me and taking my life digitally just allows me to lose everything because it’s too easy to forget about it.

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I have a Daily Draft action for Drafts that creates a new draft with the date in it. Then it pulls in my calendar for the day and my OmniFocus tasks.

The action tags the new draft with “daily” so that it appears in my (loftily named) “Writing” workspace.

Having read the calendar and tasks pieces I delete them. Then I usually write up the day the same day. Occasionally it’s the morning after.

Once in a blue moon I run an action that appends these daily drafts to a file in Dropbox, deleting them from Drafts.

I would quite like an easy way to append to this draft - so that when I do something I update the daily draft. (Probably not difficult but getting hold of the right draft is the hard part.)

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Another +1 on Drafts for initial planning for the date then send to Things, DEVONthink etc. Drafts has so many updates constantly improving and plenty of actions to simplify workflow.

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Have you published your Daily Draft action in the Drafts Directory?

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I think I had notes created later after a power-down/reboot. But I’m not certain. It will need further investigation. Generally my iMac is on 24/7 with DevonThink loaded.

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No. It’s too specific. And it relies on Shortcuts.

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Committing to text my use of DevonThink was obviously the kiss of death. Today I’ve been investigating Dynalist and Workflowy, and contemplating how well they might work as a daily note repository.

I had once before used OmniOutliner for that purpose - but as much as I want to like OO, it’s only gone backwards since v3. So I know outliners work and are useful… is it time to try them once again?

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