The Way I Journal: Daniel J. Olsen
Here’s how Day One helps a soldier track his life
Who are and you and what do you do?
My name is Daniel J. Olson, and I am a US Army Soldier, full-time dad, and college student. I also journal a lot, play guitar, take pictures, do artwork, and do family history work. I am a Latter-day Saint. I have been married for almost seven years now to my amazing wife, Jessica, and we have two goofy kids.
When and why did you start journaling?
Well, I’ve actually been journaling since about 1998. My maternal grandfather journaled all the time while I was growing up, and I later saw a movie called, “The Mountain of the Lord”, in which then-President Wilford Woodruff spoke of the importance of the Latter-day Saints being a “record-keeping people”. I ran with the idea and (except for a few parts here and there) have been doing so continuously since 2004.
What is your journaling routine?
In the morning, if I remember what I dreamt, I’ll write that down first thing. Throughout the day, depending on where I go, I use the Check-In feature. I also have an hourly prompt, where I write a small snippet of what’s going on.
There are also times when I take pictures and will create entries based off those.
Do you focus on longform writing or in capturing small memories of life?
Well, it’s a combination of both. Depending on what I have going on, I’ll either do a small entry, or if I’m abridging my older journaling into Day One, it can become quite long.
I’ve been all over the United States while growing up, as my dad’s career warranted such moving, and to South Korea once, as part of being in the Army.
Do you have a favorite spot where you like to journal?
I built my own “man cave”, as it were, some time back and that is my own personal space. It is in there that I like to have calming music (Gregorian Chants usually or something similar) to focus.
What was your first entry in Day One?
I actually have a tag, called “Entry Milestone” for marking off “x” number of entries. The very first one was done in Day One Classic:
“Nov 21, 2014–10:24 a.m.
So, I decided to try Day One for journaling and whatnot, and see how it goes.
Its interface is short and sweet, to-the-point.
I just finished eating some Ramen and am about to go smoke.”
How many entries do you have in your journal?
You have to understand, I’ve checked in at a LOT of places and have copied over a LOT of journaling from when I was younger. Plus, using IFTTT, I have my assorted social media accounts tied in, which go to a Social Media journal.
For All Entries, I have 11,277 entries at the moment, with 3,301 pictures.
For my Regular (Daily Record) journal, I have 7,785 entries, with 1,062 pictures.
For Social Media, I have 2,690 entries, with 2,149 pictures.
My other journals are: Dreams (Nighttime Record), Church Things, My Discourses, Church — Reading & Notes, and Misc. Lifelogs.
What is your favorite or most-used feature in Day One?
I would have to say that the ability to take my old entries and add them into Day One, thereby providing richer context to my story / history is probably the greatest one. I love how I can add the place and time, and the weather at the time is automatically retrieved. Being able to see everywhere I’ve been on globe is absolutely wonderful, too.
Do you mostly write on the iPhone, iPad, or Mac?
Most of the time, it’s my iPhone. If I’m copying over my older journaling, then my Mac. Sometimes, I do use my iPad if I can’t use my iPhone and my Mac is off or away from me.
Do you follow any organization rules?
The only real rules I follow are when I do a Daily Summary, or if I’m entering the older entries.
With the older entries, I bring up the Word Doc (or text file) and have it on one screen, and in Day One on another screen, I’ll create a new entry on the corresponding date. Next, I select the general location (to ensure the correct timezone is showing), followed by the exact address whenever possible. Then I’ll copy over the original text, make any formatting adjustments as needed, and finally set the time or approximate time if none was given.
Have you ever relied on Day One for something unexpected, or used it to recall details about a specific event or date?
There have been times where I wasn’t sure where I’d been, and other times when I wanted to “set the record straight”, so-to-speak.