I’ve had some form of journalling practice since the early 2000s, usually writing on paper but also experimenting with digital journalling. For my day-to-day work I’m trying to convert a notebook into a bullet journal (more on that later), but for my personal journalling I’ve been an avid user of Day One for many years now.

Then at some point a number of years ago, I really felt a strong desire to journal about my professional life. Without wanting to mix the two, I explored creating different journals in Day One but still felt something missing. A stronger template with a clearer professional focus would help. Enter DEVONthink

How I’ve setup my journal

Tools I use to make the magic happen:

  • DEVONthink Pro Office (any version would work for this) for MacOS & DEVONTHINK To Go for iOS
  • FontAwesome font (to get the fancy icons)

I could talk about what DEVONthink can do for hours. And probably will, as some point, in an extended review. But for now, let’s focus on the nuts and bolts to make this journal work…

DEVONthink is a great tool for my professional and personal life. It is my “everything bucket” in which I store academic research papers, web articles, scanned PDF’s, office files, clipart and much more. The strength of DEVONthink lies in its adaptability and the way people make it work for them. Over the past few years the developers have really stepped up their game and created great syncing tools for iOS and the cloud. This makes it easy for me to access all my files anywhere on my iPhone, iPad or Mac. And when it comes to a journal, this is key.

(For those with a technical inclination, in order to get the FontAwesome font to work on your iOS devices, take a look at AnyFont. The ability to work across your iDevices consistently in this manner is amazing. Whilst, yes, you can install fonts on your iOS device without it nowadays, the easy-of-use from AnyFont still wins out for me.)

Using my journal

I’ve created a basic template in DEVONthink for my daily professional journal and have included a number of prompts to help guide me. At the bottom I’ve created an empty list where I can write ideas, puzzles or great moments. The prompts I use change over time and currently they’re strongly modelled on Michael Hyatt’s prompts.

I usually start the daily journal from my Mac and create a new file from a template I’ve set up. And then, I get to writing my entry.

How it helps

By purposefully creating a moment in the day (for me, early evenings work best) to reflect on my work and what I’ve done, I’m more prone to balance things out. Particularly on days where many things happen, it’s usually the last thing of the day I come home with. By creating a space where I can reflect on the whole day and change my mindset (the gratitude question helps to create that perspective), I can truly evaluate what has happened and my role in it.

For anyone familiar with the concept of journalling the proven benefits of a consistent journalling practice are well-documented. Writing a journal entry can take between five or thirty minutes a day, depending on my reflections.

If you’re interested in trying out a digital professional journal, give this a go!