Use Apple Shortcuts to Build the Ultimate Daily Digital Journal

I started journaling in 2019. It’s not that I love keeping a journal, exactly. It’s more that I find my brain works better if I spend a little time dumping its contents onto paper every morning. This practice got me through 2020, an extremely difficult year, and I’ve kept it up ever since.

My journal isn’t advanced. I’ve got a few sections recommended by my therapist from around the time I started—there’s a section I fill in every day with things I’m looking forward to, for example. I use another section to think through what I’m going to eat and other things I’m going to do that day. All of this is straightforward; I just use a template that includes headers for those things.

But there’s a bit of information I like to gather and include. Each day’s weather, for example. I’ve noticed that I’m often in a bad mood on rainy, gray days, so recording the weather along with my thoughts gives me some helpful context when I’m reviewing entries later. I also like to know what time I wrote my entry, where I was when I wrote it, and—if possible—include a quote of the day or something else to reflect on.

I could gather all of the above information myself manually, every morning. But I’ve found it’s a lot faster to use Apple Shortcuts for the job. This application, which comes preinstalled on every Mac, iPhone, and iPad, can automatically pull in all kinds of information and format it nicely for my journal. I run a custom automation every morning. Here’s how I built it.

The Date, Weather, and Location

Apple via Justin Pot

Fire up Apple Shortcuts on your device of choice and make a new shortcut. This software can be a little confusing, but don’t worry, I’m going to talk you through everything. In the right column you will see a number of different tiny automations you can run. Drag as many of these as you want to the main column, which is on the left. I like to search for what I’m looking for, but if you prefer, you can manually explore the options to get a sense of what Shortcuts can do.

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