Mellow Mummy: Planning our Half-Term Activities with Journl : Taking life as it comes...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Planning our Half-Term Activities with Journl

I can't believe that it is half-term already.  Life is just whizzing past at present.  Sadly, due to work, I won't be able to spend the whole of this week with my girls but we did manage to get away for a couple of days.  With such a short amount of time available, I needed to make sure every minute was planned and organised to make the most of it.  And that is where Journl comes in - a new productivity app for organising, sorting, listing, documenting and planning your life.  Journl asked me to put their new companion app to the test by planning and organising a family trip this half-term using their app - we chose Alton Towers!

We have been vaguely planning a family trip to Alton Towers for many many months and, with other family members joining us, there has been quite a lot of synching of diaries to do!  I used Journl on my iPad to capture the details of our multiple-room hotel booking including the original emails with booking references and post code (it is dead easy to simply forward an email with a file or attachment to the journl email address and it magically appears in your Journl inbox for you to file along with all of your other planning materials).  I stored and filed directions, restaurant ideas, days out ideas and satnav references.

Using the Journl planning app I put together a packing list for us and the girls so that, as we packed, I could simply tick off the items as we went.  I also placed events into my calendar for the few days including dates and times for each of our restaurant bookings.


I like the colours and simple graphics in the Journl app and I get the same magic feeling when using it as I do when I get a brand new paper diary.  I've found the app a little "iffy" over the past month (at which point I tend to default to the web-browser based version of Journl) but, as a software developer myself I guess I notice these things more (and I guess I'm a little more understanding than most!).

Apart from using Journl to plan our days out in Stoke and Alton Towers, I've found it most helpful for planning my own life!  I remain a little sceptical about the value that Journl can offer me over the existing (free) list and calendar apps on my iPad but for notes, I've found it to fill in lots of the gaps that I experience with the out-of-the box iOS offerings.  I've used the notes sections and their full filing and sorting capabilities to manage my list of ideas for blog posts in the coming months!  I quite like the fact that I can create as many levels of 'folder' as I want, and I can assign relevant icons so that my different notebooks are easy for me to spot.


I've also found it perfect for planning my running activities such as races; being able to email race registrations straight into my Journl inbox is really handy because I can sort them and store them with flexibility I can't get in my email inbox (although I'm struggling to find a way to tie these directly to their corresponding calendar events).

I think Journl has a lot of evolution ahead of it - I like the idea but there are a few gaps which I think would prevent it from becoming my life-planning tool of choice (at present, I live and list through my A5 paper diary!).  Making it easier to link items together, or share with others not on journl are both enhancements that could mean the difference between "planning app" and "life app".  A share or email button would make it easier to email lists and calendar items to friends or family.

CBeebies Land at Alton Towers

For me, having a little tool that I can take with me on my phone on holiday has been so much more convenient than having to bring my entire diary with me.  I've had Journl there with the answers to the questions when someone has asked me "What time is the table booked for dinner" or "What postcode should I put in the Satnav to get to Alton Towers".

Journl is a subscription-based offering with access online at or through the free companion app which is available for iPad, iphone or ipod touch.  Subscriptions start from £4.99 a month.

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