CustomJournal App Tutorial: Getting Started and Customizing

In this video I talk about getting started using CustomJournal by taking advantage of the default templates and then creating your own custom template to create a journal entry that works exactly the way you want it to.

Introduction

Hey everybody, welcome back to the CustomJournal Tutorial bonus videos from Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and I want to thank you for joining me . Today we’re going to go over using CustomJournal’s built-in templates to get started and how to create a custom template to create a journal entry that works to record exactly what you want in your journal.

Adding a Template

Getting started journaling with CustomJournal is easy. It comes preloaded with several default templates that are essentially all you need to begin. All you need to do is go to the day on which you want to add an entry, click on “Add Template”, find a template which you want to use, add it to your journal, and then fill it out.

The default templates are as follows:

  1. Five Minute – This is a simple template that looks at gratitude, goals, affirmations, and important events.
  2. My Sample Journal – This is a longer template that expands on the Five Minute journal, adds tasks, and some reflection.
  3. Food – This is a template that looks at food tracking.
  4. Gratitude and Review – This template looks at gratitude, Stoic Reflection, and mood tracking.
  5. Habit – This is a simple, habit tracking template.
  6. Weekly Review – This looks at reflection on a weekly scale, instead of daily.

To add a template to your journal, just go to the day on which you want to journal, click the pen icon in the center of the day scroll through until you find the one you want, and click on it. It will be added to that day. If you already have a template on that day, you can still add another. Just click on the three dot button in the upper right, click Add Template, scroll through until you find the one you want, and click on it. It will be added to that day.

Again, these templates are a range of journaling ideas that can get you started right away. Many types of journaling that I’ve come across are represented here. You can use any or all of these and you should be covered as a beginner at journaling. However, the power of CustomJournal is that you can use these ideas and customise a template to work exactly the way you want it.

Adding Images

Taking a step back from Templates for a moment, I want to quickly go over another neat feature in CustomJournal. You can add images to the journal entry. If you took a picture of something and talked about it in your journal that day, you can add an image of it. I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, so adding images can be a great way to show what you’re talking about and spark memories when you go through them later. Just click on the three dot button in the top right, click on Add Image, locate the picture you want to attach, and then click on it. It will be added to that journal entry. When you wish to view that picture, just click on it and you’ll be able to see it full size.

Creating a Custom Template

Let’s get back to templates and start building a new, custom template.

The first step is to go into the “Manage Templates” section and click “New Template”. This will open up the editor with a completely blank space. In this space you add modules to the template.

The most basic method of journaling is long-form. This is just a space to write down thoughts and events of the day, so we’ll start there. To create this basic journal template, click on the Plus symbol, click on “Question”, and here we will customise it.

The top part here is a preview. You can see what it will look like as you build it.

In customization, the first step is to add a question. Put in something like “Memories of Today”. This will be a writing prompt to let you know what the box is for. Additionally, this will use the Question Font settings from the Settings section. You can select the number of responses available, if you know how many of them you want in advance, or you can leave it with just one. If you might want more, you can use this setting here, “Allow adding additional response lines”. For now, let’s just use one response and see how it looks.

Hit Save. Then click the save icon in the upper right to save a copy. In this screen, type a name to call this template. Maybe “Journal” or “Custom” or something. Then you can pick a color for the template.

Remember in my first video where I talked about color palettes? The way I do it is to click in the center circle, set the hex code to #BDBDBD, which is my default, overall color, and then all the other colors in the palette are related to that color. You can then select from the color bubbles and it keeps the colors related and nice to look at.

Anyway, pick a color and then save it. Now, add it to your journal and try it out.

As you can see, this would make it sort of like a diary, allowing you to have one template that would provide a space to mind-dump for journal entries. This would be a great way to get started, practicing the habit of journaling. But let’s assume that you’re not happy with just a mind-dump and want to ask more specific questions every day to which to respond. For now, long press on the template you just added, click the three dots button, and then click Delete Selected. This will get rid of it for now.

Go back into the Manage Templates section, click on the right arrow until you find the template with which we’re working, and then click on it. This will again open the editor.

Let’s consider other things you want to journal. But, first, let’s create a heading banner to separate out the basic entry question we’ve already created. Click on the plus and then click on Banner. Let’s put in this box what we originally used as the question: “Memories of Today”. Then we’ll choose a color. I’m going to use the one we used for the template color, for ease of use. You can also change the color of the text, but I’m going to leave it white for now. Then click submit to save it to the template. Because I don’t want the banner below the entry box, I’m going to move it. Grab the orange lines on the right and drag it above the question box we created earlier.

Now, because this looks redundant, with the “Memories of Today” text used twice, let’s edit the question to be something better. Click on the question box and change the question to something else, like “What are the important things I want to remember about today?” When you’re done, click submit and save it. Then click the save icon again and save the changes to the template. Again, you can name it, change the color, and click save. This time, when you add it to your journal, it will have the changes we’ve made.

Now you can see how to create a template, add elements, customize them, save changes, and add templates to journal entries. This should allow you to create whatever journal template you want to create so you can journal exactly the way you want to. What I want to do now is look at all the other elements that are available to you in creating custom templates.

Modules for Templates

Question

I’ve already covered the Question module, but I want to take a quick look at the number of responses option and the option to allow additional responses. If you click on the question we’ve already created you can see these. If you know you want to have three responses to a question, you can change it to three and there will be three lines automatically added. If you’re unsure how many you want, but know you’ll often want more than one, I suggest using the option to add more. Let’s change this back to one and select the option to allow more. Now submit it, save it, save it again, and we’ll add it to a journal entry. When you click on the first line and add something, you’ll see the option here that says “2…?”. If you click on that, it’ll add a second line. If you add more here, it’ll show the option to add another line. This is a great way to add more entries, like on lists and such. Back to Manage Templates.

Checkbox

The checkbox is just a box you can check and a field to add text. If there’s something you do every day, once a day, and want to make an entry to see that it’s done, just add some text to this box, click submit, and you’ll now have a box to track that.

Checklist

Checklist is like a checkbox, but when you’re using it, you can have a heading on the list and add multiple checkmarks. Again, this is great for creating lists.

Multiple Choice

Multiple choice is like a checkbox, but you can choose from one of several options. This is great for tracking things like mood or how well you feel you did at something.

Rating

Rating is a module that allows you to add a rating system to something. I use this when I review books I read or classes I took. It can also be a great way to track things like water consumption or how many times you did a habit during the day. First put in what you want to rate or track. By default it is stars, but you can also choose to use a circle shape. You can set it to use half stars or circles, if you wish. You can also select the color of the stars or circles. And you can set it to use between one and ten depending on the rating system you want to use.

Text

Text is a box that allows you to just put a block of text in your journal without wrapping it in a banner. This is great for things you want to put in there that don’t change, like quotes, instructions, symbol keys, etc. Just enter the text you want to use, choose a color for the text, and click submit. It will add it to your template.

Banner

I’ve already gone over banners, so I’m not going to cover it any more. Just know that these make great separators for the sections of your template and journal.

Moving and Deleting

Real quick, let’s look at what happens if you change your mind or make a mistake. If you put something in the wrong spot, you can use the three orange lines to drag them around. If you want to delete something, just drag it off screen.

Books

The last feature I want to cover is Books. This is a premier feature, so be sure to purchase the premier version of the app if you think this feature could be of benefit to you.

When I recommended this app, my first thought was that it would be nice to have separate books for things like travel journals or project notebooks. If you were going on a trip and wanted a specific journal you could keep notes and pictures in, especially if you wanted to share them or export them without giving anyone access to your main journal, this is perfect. It’s also a great idea to have project notebooks to keep track of them and not clutter up your main journal. But, since I started Bullet Journaling, I have mostly focused on this feature so that I have a clean journal to start out every year with a fresh journal.

If you open up the main menu using the hamburger button, you’ll see the Books section. If you click on that, you’ll see My Journal. What I did was to go to the edit button at the top, rename that book to this year, 2019, and then change the color. I started at the top of the color palette and am going to make my way around it in a clockwise fashion.

This will allow me to start every year fresh with a new, clean bullet journal. I will be able to scan through a year without the clutter of past years. It will appear more like a bookshelf instead of a giant pile of entries. I also plan to add a project book for things I’m working on and keep track of the evolution of that project without having to clutter my memory journals. I was really excited about this feature when it was developed, so I hope you’re as excited as I am about it.

Conclusion

Whether you choose to use the default templates or whether you choose to create your own, you should be able to effectively journal using CustomJournal. Using the information in this video you should be able to create a rich, custom template that allows you to journal any way you choose. In my next video I’m going to show you the journal templates I created and how I use them to journal every day using my blend of Bullet Journaling, Stoic Reflection, and Long-form journaling. I will also link to my website, where I will have links to my templates so you can import them if you don’t want to take the time to create them yourself. I will show you how to download those templates and import them into your journal as well. Also, you can go to the CustomJournal’s website. The creator has a page of different types of journaling and the templates he’s created based on those types of journaling. You can also download those and import them.


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