|Published:||Apr 13, 2005|
|Author:||Michael E, Callahan|
The benefits and the shortcomings of paper journals
When I started college, more than 30 years ago, I started keeping a journal. I wanted to record things I needed to do, keep notes for my school work, and integrate musings about my personal life into one notebook. Keeping a journal was a great way for me to keep track of my life and to sort things out. It was a place that I could come back to and mull over ideas, puzzle out sticky situations, and help me clarify my goals.
I liked the idea of integrating my life into one notebook: one place where ideas, dreams, goals, notes to myself, and class notes would be unified. Somehow I felt that both the process of reflecting and the product of the journal entries would be excellent tools in my personal and professional development.
I continued to write in what became many, many notebooks, over the years, and through my journal writing years I was aware that the process was soothing: I almost always felt more relaxed and ended a journal writing session with a more positive attitude than when I started the session.
But, as I wanted to keep my writings private, I hid my notebooks. With the journal out of sight, too often it was also out of mind, and I wrote less consistently than I wanted. I also found that in these notebooks tucked in closets, with notes on scraps of paper stuffed in folders or stashed in random corners of my house, my words lay dormant. And, when I did choose to re-read journal entries, it was difficult to find specific writings that held nuggets of truth; they were buried in the stacks of prose. So, drawing conclusions, seeing my life trends and patterns, making connections between different entries--indeed learning from my years of thought--took hours, and rarely did I take the time to search.
In the mid 1990s, I was looking for a change in career. Using my journal, once again, as the bootstrap to pull me back to myself, I reflected on the shortcomings of the paper journal. After 25 years of keeping a journal, I knew there had to be a better way to write, reflect, and learn from my life experiences. I experimented with computer-based formats such as word processing documents and MS Outlook's journal. I tried journal software that turned out to be little more than glorified word processors with indexing calendars, or which required that I restructure my writing style to fit their software.
A better way to keep a journal
I knew that with the power of computers there could be a better way to insure privacy and security in journal writing. A better way to track the important things in my life. A better way to inspire me to write more consistently. A better way to highlight, uncover, and remember the meaningful passages that I had written. A better way to help me see new perspectives and spark my thinking. A better way to juxtapose writings to help me see connections and patterns in my life so that I could learn from my experiences.With this clear knowledge and experience of journal writing I knew I wanted to--and did ultimately--create software that
LifeJournal: engaging, encouraging, and enlightening journal software
Many features of LifeJournal are innovative and unique among all other journal software. Among my favorite features are the Daily Pulse and Assigning Topics.The Daily Pulse lets you quickly record the "pulse" of your day with interactive gauges. You can track up to ten Daily Pulse scales: Subjectively rate your health and mood, and objectively count the hours you slept and the miles you walked. Then LifeJournal takes your Daily Pulse entries and creates line graphs so you can see your trends. You can view as many graph lines as you want simultaneously. Entries and Daily Pulse information are cross-referenced: you can open associated entries by double clicking a point on the graph.
Assigning Topics to entire journal entries and/or particularly meaningful or insightful passages makes the program especially valuable. After assigning a topic to a section of text, you can quickly find what you have written about particular subjects. For example, you can quickly gain perspective and see how you have progressed on a particular issue-such as an on-going relationship or your health-during the past months.
My overriding goal, of course, other than creating a program that met my needs was to encourage others to keep journals. I was gratified to receive this comment recently from a LifeJournal customer: "This is the software that I have imagined and dreamed about for years. I'm so glad I found it."Get started!
To get started now, visit our website www.lifejournal.com. You can download the demo, which lets you use the program (on Windows operating systems). The demo file becomes the full version when you enter the purchased key, which costs $39.95. Our website contains helpful information about LifeJournal as well as valuable resources about journal writing.-----------------------------About The Author
Ruth Folit, the designer of LifeJournal (www.lifejournal.com), is the president and founder of Chronicles Software Company. The mission of Chronicles Software Company is to create the highest quality comprehensive, private and secure, enriching, and innovative journal software; to offer support for the program; and to provide education about the software and journal writing. Chronicles Software, founded in 1999, is a leading provider of journal software used by individuals and professionals worldwide to track their growth, see their life patterns, and organize their thoughts and feelings for further reflection and understanding.
Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.