Where Did That Quote Go?

Storing notes, links, quotes, and other bits of information shouldn’t be so difficult.

You must have experienced this. Some stuff seems to fit in one place, but not another, and so you end up saving things everywhere. Like a squirrel burying nuts for the winter, you’re busy but disorganised. You can never find anything. Or there are twenty places that it could be. So you spend too much of your precious time trying to remember where you put it.

I have finally found software that solves these problems. It has completely streamlined my whole approach to how I consume digital content. It has helped me become more organised. The app is Day One. I am excited to show you how you can use it to get your digital affairs in order.

Why is it all so difficult?

Most could-based storage solutions rely on creating folders to keep stuff in. These folders then go inside other folders. Remembering which folder to use is time-consuming. The nagging feeling that you may have a more suitable folder is downright annoying.

Then there are the filenames. How do you name stuff in a way that makes it easy to find later on? Why do you even need to keep this information in a file anyway?

Sorting and archiving your information like this is tedious. That’s why it is easy to get into the habit of leaving your stuff everywhere.

The concept of files and folders is so embedded in our way of thinking about how to store information. We struggle to see beyond it.

Why should you care?

Time is precious. Do you want to be spending yours trying to remember where you saw that marketing tip you wanted to try out? Do you want to be checking notes, reading lists, ‘save for later’ lists and bookmarks? This activity is draining you.

What about when someone sent you a link to that article last week? Was it by email? A message? Telegram? Signal? WhatsApp? Twitter DM? Imagine trawling through all the possible options every time. You have better things to do with your time.

There is another way

I’m using Day One. It isn’t free, but it is something that I’m already paying for. Which makes it kind of free, right? Trust me, if you don’t use it already, it is exceptionally good value for money and you should start. There is a free version if you want to dip your toes in first.

Other than Ulysses, it’s the only app that I happily pay for. It’s in that category of tools that are so good it would be upsetting if there was no way of giving money to the developers. Again, like Ulysses, I’ve been paying for it for a good while and can’t imagine ever ending my subscription. That’s rare.

I’ve been using Day One for a few years for my personal journal. Until a couple of months ago, it never even occurred to me that it could hold my personal archive.

Here is how you can use it.

Day One allows you to create many journals. I have two. My personal journal is the one that I try to write in every day. It is about how I’m feeling, what I’ve learned, what I’m struggling with, that kind of thing.

I named my other journal ‘Everything Else’. Anything that isn’t a personal entry goes in here.

Let’s say something occurs to you while you’re out walking your dog. Open the app and record a quick voice note. At the end of each day, filter all your entries by ‘untagged’ and this will show all the entries you haven’t ‘processed’. Your voice note will be there, along with a transcription. Add a few more thoughts if you like, then tag the entry and that’s it.

Tags are actually the key to all this. You don’t need to think about folders when you use tags. Use as many as you like on each entry. If you have an idea for an article, create an entry and add your ‘idea’ tag. You now have a ready-made list of potential blog posts to develop when you’re ready.

The best thing about Day One is how calming and peaceful the environment is.

Look back at your voice note and you can see what the weather was like when you recorded it. You can see that you were out walking in a local park when that idea occurred to you. There could well be another entry next to it, a picture of your dog playing in the water. This will make you smile and it may even prompt an entry in your personal journal, reflecting on how good you feel.

This is what Day One does so well. It’s where your memories and personal reflections co-exist with your brilliant ideas. Yes, it has a tonne of features, the design is beautiful and the execution is flawless but it’s so much more than that.

Give it a go and I can guarantee you’ll be glad you did. You’re busy and you’re brilliant, you can get inspired any time. You need to be able to get your ideas down, in one place and in a way that makes them easy to find when the time is right. Get this sorted and you’ll free up space in your brain.

I’ll say it again, your time is precious and you shouldn’t be spending it with your head in a virtual filing cabinet.