How to Automate A Dream Journal in the Cloud

OK, this is really cool. You might say I’ve done it again…

The “Why”

Every single resource on lucid dreaming will tell you that Step Zero is improving dream recall.

This means that before you can work on problems in your sleep a la Edison or Einstein’s catnaps, you have to remember more dreams.

Of course, the best way to remember more dreams, of course, is to record them first thing in the morning.

The Problem

Writing down your dreams when you wake up…with a pen and paper…is tedious. Humans are lazy. The #1 barrier that’s stopped me from keeping a dream journal is that it’s a pain.

(For more on how tiny hurdles become huge barriers, read Ramit Sethi’s fantastic piece on the psychology of “passive barriers.”)

Jotting your dreams by hand is subpar for at least 3 reasons:

  • It takes forever. If you have long dreams, you know what I mean. “Oh yeah, and before that, I was at the beach!” It might take you 10 minutes to record everything. Who wants to do that every morning?
  • It’s un-searchable. Imagine you could flip back to a dream you had 10 years ago, and re-read that one deep conversation you had with your Grandmother in a dream.

    With a handwritten journal, you’d have to flip through jibberish, scanning each one. Plus…

  • You lose notebooks anyway.

Well, there’s a better way.

Even better, you can record your dreams straight to an archive in the cloud, without any involved or super techy setup.

Grab your smartphone. Take 5 minutes now to set up your digital age dream journal.

The Solution

  1. Download Dragon Dictation. Switch to the app store and download Dragon Dictation, a free app that transcribes your speech to text.

    Yes, you can do the same with Siri–but it takes more clicks.

    Once the app downloads, get to draggin’ Dragon to your homescreen.

  2. Set up your Dream Log Archive folder in Gmail.

    Log in to Gmail and head over to the Settings. Then:

    Filters tab > Create a new filter > Type “Dream Log” under Subject

    > Create Filter with this Search > Tick Skip the inbox > Create filter.

  3. Go to sleep tonight with your smartphone within reach.

  4. As soon as you wake up, open the Dragon app on your device. Hit “Record.” Recount out loud everything you remember about what you were just dreaming.

  5. Once you speak everything you remember, hit “Done.”

    Dragon will transcribe your words to mostly accurate text. It’s surprisingly good. Use your phone and auto-correct to touch up any words that it missed.

  6. Hit the Share button > Email

    Lastly, type “Dream Log” in the subject. This will archive your entry with other dreams, per the Gmail filter we set up. Email yourself at your Gmail address.

Congratulations! Now you have your first entry in your digital dream log for life.

To see all your archived dreams, just search “subject:Dream Log” in Gmail.

To sum it up, here’s why your automated journal is WAY better than handwritten journals:

  • Permanent. Google’s mission is to archive the world’s information. You’ll have it for a lifetime.
  • Private. Even if someone got into your email account…nobody is going to search your Archives for “Dream Log.”
  • Legible. All typed.

  • Searchable. ‘Nuff said.
  • Dated. What were you dreaming about 5 years ago at a different point in your life? Fascinating…at least to you.

If you haven’t, go back up and invest 5 minutes up front to set up a system you can use forever.

Let me know in the comments if you have any improvements or discoveries of your own.