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OhLife Review: Extremely Easy Email-based Private Journal for Non-self-starters

Quick poll: how many of you have blogs, online diaries or notebooks with three entries from last year and then nothing after that? I think it’s human nature to decide that you want to record your insightful wisdoms or at least your daily activities for posterity’s sake. But it’s equally natural to just kind of let these projects peter out after a few days or weeks. It’s just too much trouble to crack open that Moleskin or log in to or whatever. If you are having trouble sticking to your daily diary, then is for you. Screenshot Tour

Like all great ideas, OhLife is elegantly simple. Every day, OhLife will send you an email that asks: How did your day go? (They change it up for your first OhLife entry, but the concept is the same.)

blog by email

All you have to do is reply and it’ll be recorded as a private journal entry.

blog with ohlife

To view old entries, just log in to Or, every now and then, OhLife will reminisce with you by including a random journal entry form the past in its daily email.

export ohlife entries

And that’s it. You can also type in an entry manually, i.e. not via email, by Clicking Add Entry. All entries are plain text and you can only have one entry per day.

easiest private blogging platform

There’s purposefully no way to share your entries via Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. You can’t even make a post public. This journal is for your own private and personal use. If you want to share your thoughts with the world, get a Blogger or WordPress account.

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If you want to download a record of your entries for safekeeping, you can export them as a text file in the Past tab. You can also tweak how often you get the email and at what time the email arrives.

OhLife First Impressions

I like the idea of OhLife. There’s no real groundbreaking technology here—it’s basically a private blog with a post-by-email feature and a daily or weekly reminder. But I like the way it works. In fact, before I heard about OhLife, I was trolling Craiglist to see if I could hire someone to basically do this exact same thing for me to kick-start my creative writing habit—just pop in and say, “Hey, did you write something today?” Sometimes, all we need to develop a productive habit is a prompt.

The thing that I really like about OhLife is that it’s completely platform-less. You are basically blogging via email, which means you can do it from your smartphone, your iPad, your work computer, your home computer or whichever email device you have handy when you get a chance.

The only potential pitfall of a service like OhLife is privacy and security. OhLife is pretty adamant in its privacy policy about keeping your data private, so you can feel free to tell it all of your deepest, darkest secrets. The only information they collect is your email address, which is 100% necessary for the service, and when you delete your account, your stuff is gone for good.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be too paranoid that OhLife is somehow harvesting your “Dear Diary” entries for anything sinister. At least not anymore paranoid than I would be with Blogger or LiveJournal or Xanga or Tumblr. The fact that you’re emailing your entries introduces another layer of vulnerability, but chances are you’re already sharing personal stuff via email just as a matter of fact for your everyday interactions with friends and family anyway.

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7 Responses to OhLife Review: Extremely Easy Email-based Private Journal for Non-self-starters

  1. Alex June 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    So what does this give you over say – a private wordpress blog with a few plugins that lock down the blog? I send emails to my wordpress family blog all the time. It works just fine.

    • groovinJackman June 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

      Well other than the fact that it nags you via email, nothing really. I was thinking of coming up with a WordPress plugin that does the same but hard to finagle cron jobs in WP.

      • MrGroove June 22, 2011 at 8:57 am #

        I think that’s the key – it notifies / reminds you. Plus it’s free and you don’t need to support or manage anything. That’s the beauty to the SAS model.

    • Stephen June 22, 2011 at 12:44 am #

      The fact that this is perfect for non-starters. I had a blog that had maybe 3 entries in it. I use OhLife to journal with, and the daily reminder in my inbox works out perfectly.

      • Alex June 22, 2011 at 7:11 am #

        Ok so I’ll buy that. What this gives you is ease of use. Perhaps that’s the key. You don’t NEED to go out and get a wordpress blog and make it private if this is all you need and it works.

        I wonder if I could set it up to email me at my mobile # ([email protected]) so that way it would send me a text message to remind me. Now that is starting to sound cool.

        • Stephen June 22, 2011 at 7:18 am #

          All you need to sign up is an email address and password. i’d imagine any email address would do, as long as you can hit ‘reply’…

  2. Paul Arterburn October 6, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    OhLife is now in the deadpool, but there’s a free alternative at

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