Google Productivity Pad: App Review: Grid Diary

Saturday, April 19, 2014

App Review: Grid Diary

Name: Grid Diary
Price: 2.99
Stars: 3.5
Type: Journaling

This year I really wanted to bump up my journal writing. 2013 was the first year that I had written in my journal every single day of the year (in 2012 I had missed one day). But even though I had developed the habit of daily writing I did not feel like the quality of my entries was very high. It is often hard for me, at the end of a long day to think of anything meaningful to write down and my journal was more a list of events than anything else.

So I determined at the end of last year that I wanted to start using some kind of journaling app, particularly I wanted one that would sync with Evernote. That is when I discovered grid diary.

The Concept
The idea behind Grid Diary is simple yet elegant. Each day you are presented with a grid of squares that contain questions that serve as writing prompts. There are many questions so that if you don't feel like answering any one of them you can just switch it out for another. You can even put in your own prompt if you so desire.

For me it is nice to have some questions to get my thinking primed since by the end of the day I am often so tired I don't even remember what happened, let alone how it was meaningful to my life.

The diary also asks you for the weather that day and for a emoticon meter on how the day was as a whole. Those are nice little things to know when you go back and read them later. If you use the app moves to track your activity you can import data from that to know how active you were that day. I have never used that feature though so I can't speak to how well it works.

I normally answer 3 to 4 question prompts in the Grid Diary each night. Then once a month I export them to Evernote so that I have another backup of them. You can also export them to Dropbox if you want; it also has iCloud backup for between devices.

A few problems

I have many, many apps. Grid Diary is one of just a handful that, because of its purpose, I use everyday. To use it everyday I have to like it a lot, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its problems.

One of the glaring issues is that they have not created the app native to the iPad. If you want to run it on the iPad you have use the iPhone app magnified. Fortunately since the introduction of iOS 7 magnified apps have looked and worked leaps and bounds better than they use to. Still, I always journal on my iPad and never on my iPhone so it would be nice and it would look a little better if it was native or universal.

I have not really liked a lot of the changes from the most recent major update. Thankfully after some complaining on the part of the users they did bring back the randomize questions option. Unfortunately they only offer this for all questions. It would be much better if you also had the option to do it for individual questions as well. Sometimes you don't want to get rid of every question on the screen.

Sometimes when exporting to Evernote there will be a few files that don't make the jump for some reason. It would be nice when this happened if it at least told you which files those were.

I would also like to see them put in an option for multiple weather types on a single, living in Utah there can some days be quite the variety of weather and it would be nice to be able to record it.

Well those are just a few things that I hope will get better, overall as I said, it is a great app. I use it daily and have found that it has improved my journaling immensely. If you are looking for a way to be a better journal writer I highly recommend it.

If you have a favorite journal app would you please let us know about it in the comments below. Journaling, and especially thoughtful journaling, is a great help in remembering to live better.

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