Diary app for boring details of daily life
January 27, 2017 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a diary app to record life's mundane details, like when someone came to fix my house.

I am looking for a diary application. This is not for Doogie Howser-type musings or making a beautiful travelogue. No, I just need something to record mundane details of life. For instance, I own a home, which constantly requires that I have people come service things. I make notes about what happens on service calls. I do the same sort of thing for older cars. Plus, sometimes I have just random notes, like "I had this wine, it was good," or "my friend Dave told me about this TV show, Stranger Things" and I want to make a note and remember it.

The ideal workflow for this sort of thing would be that I can make a single little "note," such as "today Gutter Cleaning Co. came and cleaned out the gutters, their phone number is X, it cost $120." I could add tags, like "house" or "roof" or whatever, and then this "note" would be deposited into a big bin with all my other notes, with metadata added like the date and time and maybe even where I made the note. Then later I could pull all the "notes" with this tag and view them--maybe in order.

Most of the apps I have seen seem bent on organizing things into "notebooks" or something rather than just taking down little jots and throwing some tags on them. Or, they are apps about making a daily dairy that looks so pretty, but is not about searchability. However, if someone has managed to make OneNote or Evernote or a similar big app work with a workflow like this, that would be useful to know.

Ability to work on iPhone, iPad, and Mac would be good.

Currently I mostly use the iPhone Notes app for this but it is getting unwieldy.
posted by massysett to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This is what I use Google Keep for primarily.
posted by phunniemee at 8:25 AM on January 27, 2017

You can tag and search individual notes by either tag or content in Evernote, either globally or within a given notebook, so just keep all your notes in the single default Notebook, and you've got the workflow you want. It's robust software for the minimism you need, but if you're already got it anyway, there isn't really a reason to get something else.

If you end up wanting to use Evernote for more, you can always leave the random jottings in the main notebook and start new ones for more focused things.

I use it for school, and I have a Notebook for every class and my key extra-curriculars, but the main notebook contains a zillion tiny notes on things like my class schedule, my locker combo, etc. When I need my locker combo, I just search 'combo' and it pops up.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:26 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

DayOne is a journaling app that can use tags. It's simple to use and pretty but very functional too
posted by horizons at 8:30 AM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm really keen on Jrnl.com. It is free and web-based. You can set up multiple journals, and/or you can use tags within one journal to identify each entry's subject matter. View all of the features here.
posted by ReginaHart at 8:44 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Penzu does this really nicely; at first glance, it does look like a longer-form journal but it's got tags and a very good search function and I drop notes of all kinds of lengths into it. (I too despise Evernote's "notebooks" function.)
posted by anderjen at 8:51 AM on January 27, 2017

Seconding DayOne. I use it for exactly the kind of mundane journaling you're describing. To search, pull down in the "timeline" (aka chronological list) view.
posted by wym at 9:31 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also use DayOne for this kind of thing, and use tagging for organization (so I can see when I performed certain household repairs, went to the doctor, etc).
posted by adamrice at 10:11 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Google "tickler file" for more stuff along this vein.
posted by WCityMike at 10:17 AM on January 27, 2017

Also, if you want truly barebones, then jrnl (a command line tool) might suit you.
posted by sazerac at 10:42 AM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can search within Google Calendar, and it will find events that contain your search text in the notes or title.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:49 AM on January 27, 2017

this is not an app, it's an IRL hack that I use to tag my notebook notes. Make an index on the back page of the notebook (I typically stick a post it on the last page with the first letter of the tag). Fold each page over and scribble over the corresponding line.
posted by rebent at 2:46 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can make a Google form that asks exactly the questions you want in the style you want (radio buttons, text boxes, drop-down) and then have it compile into a spreadsheet automatically, and just set it as a link in your browser toolbar, or use IFFT to send it as a daily email to you so that you can customise the data collection. That's what I did for a while when I was monitoring health symptoms and some employee data that had to be collected for several months (two different forms, very specific queries).
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:41 PM on January 27, 2017

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