Have you ever tried keeping a journal? It’s a nice idea, but most folks who give it a try usually wind up dropping it after a while. Like everything worthwhile, sticking with it is not easy, and that’s where OhLife can help.
OhLife is a free online journaling program designed to motivate you and keep your journaling activity up to date and on track. It does so by sending you regular emails asking about your day, and maintains your journal or diary online, privately accessible to you anytime and anywhere.
OhLife works through email. The major problem that most people have with keeping a diary or a journal is in two basic parts. First, most people find they have trouble making entries on a regular basis, leaving large gaps in their personal history that can make the whole thread of their life story seem much thinner.
This usually leads to a loss of motivation to keep the journal and it gets dropped, either on purpose or just through inaction and lack of attention.
The other big challenge most of us face when trying to keep a journal is also known as writer’s block. When you decide to keep a journal, you may go to great lengths to set up a system that makes you comfortable. Some people go out and buy a special blank book to record their thoughts in, or buy a special pen to write them with. Others may go out and spend tons of money on a fancy computer program that offers you options for making photo albums and adding captions to them. All this is great, as far as it goes, but when they sit down to actually write something in their journal, that blank page stares back at them and nothing comes to mind to put on it.
OhLife combats both of those problems, and few others as well. When you sign up for OhLife, you’ll be jumping right in and getting started with your first entry in less time than it takes to make toast. OhLife works in three basic steps. Step one, they send you an email every day asking you a topical question about your life, like “How was your day?” which helps to get your creative juices flowing. It helps to have a question to answer, an outside source for topics of your journal entries, rather than just staring at a blank page and trying to think of something profound to write.
Step two is up to you. Once you receive your email for the day with your topic or question in it, you’ll reply to that email with your journal entry. It can be as long or as short as you want, say anything or nothing, it’s up to you. You can also attach one photo file of .jpg, .gif or .png format for each journal entry. This isn’t a scrapbooking program so it limits you to one photo per entry, but it is still a great option to have for a journal in the 21st century. Once you have finished your journal entry, you simply hit send and the email is converted to OhLife’s simple journal format, and stored on their servers for you.
Step three is editing. You’ll be able to go to the website and log in, and view or edit any of your entries ever made and stored on the site. You can add or remove a photo file from each entry as well as edit the text. That’s really all there is to it! OhLife is simple in concept but powerful in implementation. I have been keeping journals on my own for more years than I can count and looking back I sure wish I had something like OhLife to guide me and keep me motivated to make more entries. Best of all, it’s totally free!
OhLife’s web page, once you have signed up and logged in, will allow you to change the setting for when you get emailed, as well. Normally, they send the emails to you in the evening, but you can change the time to anything from 7am to 11pm in whatever time zone you like. Also, the settings page will allow you to check or uncheck the option to have a random entry of your journal included as part of your daily emails. If selected, this means that when OhLife sends you your daily email to write an entry, they will also include the text and photo of a randomly chosen entry that you have previously written. This can be a great motivator as well as a good jump-start to your creative process as well. You can also change the frequency that emails are sent to you, from daily, weekly, or never(for some reason).
OhLife is a journal’s best friend. There’s tons of potential here and I am very excited to see where the developers ultimately decide to go with this program. I would like to see some connections and options for social networking like being able to share entries on Facebook if you like. Currently, the only real way to share your entries is via screenshot or copy/paste, excluding forwarding emails. You could always give your password to someone you want to share your entries with, but I would never recommend it. Another nice idea would be a mobile app, since everything that’s worth anything has one these days, but since OhLife works through email, it is already technically accessible via Android or iPhone.
Even if nothing changes about OhLife in the future, however, I will be using it for a long time to come. Until next time my friends!
[Thanks go to reader Panzer for the tip about this service].
Sign up for OhLife here.