How I Use: Tags with Day One

Like many of you out there, I use Day One as my journalling application of choice on macOS and iOS (oh, and the Watch too!). It has a lot of use cases, some of which are:

  • capturing special moments with my wife and kids
  • logging work completed for clients
  • tracking progress towards my goals
  • writing reviews of films or programmes I may have watched
  • taking photos of amazing food I eat in restaurants

As well as many more besides. With so many entries, it’s important to have a system for retrieving the entries you have made when you need them. That’s why I love the inclusion of tags for your Day One entries. This helps to categorise and find specific entries easily. 

It’s important to have a solid system for the application of tags, however, as they can quickly become unwieldy. 

I’m going to briefly run through how I use tags in Day One in the hope that it may inspire you to utilise them more yourself. 

Format - all of my tags are lower-case. This is a spill-over from how I use tags in both Finder and DEVONthink Pro Office. The OCD side of my nature tends to overheat when I see a mixture of lower-case, upper case or a combination of the two. Also, my brain doesn’t need to think about how to format it as there is a system in place. 

I also try to ensure that there are no more than two tags per entry. Were I to become trigger-happy with the number of tags I create, I can quickly become overwhelmed when it comes to:

  • deciding on tags to use
    • scrolling through the list of tags in use. 

I’m heavily into simplicity and minimalism so I will use the appropriate amount of tags I need and no more. Also, the Search capability within Day One is first class. If there was a particular restaurant for example that I was dining at, I wouldn’t waste a whole tag entry on it’s name. Instead, I would tag the entry with eating out and if needed, the occasion (for example, birthday) and then rely on the search facility to look within the tag and find all entries related to that restaurant. 

That brief rule of thumb covers the format, so here are the most frequently used tags within my workflow:

review - now the word review has multiple meanings. When it comes to journaling, and given my last example, you could assume this relates to films I watch, restaurants I visit or books I have read. Not so. For me, the tag review is purely about mindfulness. I conduct a daily review and a weekly review as a bare minimum and these all receive the appropriate tags. 

filmsbooksTV - now these are reviews, or at least a track of media that I have consumed. I don’t know if it’s an old age thing, however I tend to find that I’ll see something in a store and think to myself “Have I seen/read that?!). Embarrassing I know, however Day One helps me with that. 

birthdays - I like to track parties or events that I attend with the family. This will often be used with another tag, such as eating out or parties

(client name) - I have both coaching clients and Project Management clients and I like to track work I have completed with them. Day One is great for this. 

health - I use this to cover visits to my local GP or hospital (which themselves form secondary tags)

holiday - or as many of my readers would say, vacation. Holidays are few and far between at the moment so it’s crucial that I capture as many moments as I can. If it’s a location that is visited regularly, then I’d add that in as a secondary tag in it’s own right. 

girls - I’ve got three amazing daughters and a gorgeous wife. I’m indeed blessed and try to record special events with them in Day One. The tag girls is usually used alongside another primary tag, such as birthdays or holiday. I also use their names individually as tags if the event I’m capturing pertains specifically to them. 

christmas - it’s the best time of the year. Simple. 

funny - Having looked, this tag is used mostly used in conjunction with the tag amelia, my youngest daughter as she is just a continual source of amusement! It’s also handy when looking up humorous anecdotes you may want to use at dinner parties or social occasions. 

tottenham - this is my guilty pleasure tag. I’m a huge football (soccer) fan and Tottenham are my team. I track all results, news etc in these entries with the tottenham tag. 

Those are my top 10 (ish..!) tags in use at the moment. What do you use? I would love to know.