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7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone

7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone

If you want to be able to do something that you love and also be able to do it well, you need to reduce the friction between thought and action. In other words, if you want to be a writer, you need to have the tools that facilitate writing at your disposal.

Now some will argue that you just need a plain ol’ text editor and the gumption to write every day to make your way as a writer, but finding a handful of tools that can help you along the way can’t hurt.

I write a lot on my iPhone. It seems strange to some people, but I have found that I can type super-fast on the touchscreen keyboard. And because of that I do a lot of outlining, writing, and editing on my iPhone. Below are 10 tools for writing on your iPhone.

    TextExpander Touch

    If you thought that text expansion on your desktop was cool, it makes typing on your mobile device a dream come true. If you don’t know, TextExpander Touch is an app that allows you to program short snippets of text as ways to expand to anything you want.

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    Say you want to program your address. You can make a snippet like “addr” expand to your entire address, even with line breaks. TextExpander can definitely help speed up your writing and it also works with around 50 other iOS apps.

      Elements

      This is a simple plain-text editor for iOS that syncs your text files to Dropbox. Elements has auto-saving, word-count, line-count, a scratchpad, TextExpander Touch support, ability to view, create, and edit Markdown files, and much more.

      This is an excellent app if you are a plain-text file nerd like me and has some great features that will keep you interested in using it.

        Notesy for Dropbox

        Yet another plain-text editor that syncs to Dropbox. Some of the extra things that I like about Notesy is that it has the option to preview Markdown files with your own custom CSS, enhanced search, subfolders, and option to view links, like phone numbers, pages, etc.

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        In general I like the overall look and feel of Notesy as well and feel that this is my favorite plain-text editor on the iPhone as of late.

          Nebulous Notes

          The last of the plain-text editors that I will mention today. Nebulous is nice for theming your writing with different fonts, font-color and backgrounds. Something that is unique to Nebulous is that it has a nifty “scrollable bar” on top of the standard keyboard that you can place different characters and macros on like tabs, asterisks, date functions, etc.

          If you want to type something up fast, coupling the programmable functions of Nebulous and coupling it with TextExpander is an awesome way to go.

            (CarbonFin) Outliner

            You’ve got to have a way to outline your ideas before you start writing and one of the easiest ways to do it on iPhone is with CarbonFin Outliner. Outliner gives you a nice interface to make parent and children items, search your entire outline, move items with drag and drop, gives notes to outline items, and much more.

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            Syncing is sort of a pain as you have to use CarbonFin’s website rather than a simpler Dropbox sync. But, for outlining on your iPhone there isn’t anything better.

              iThoughts

              What kind of writer would you be if you couldn’t carry around your mind maps with you at all times? iThoughts makes it easy to mind-map from you iPhone and has a pretty unique and intuitive interface. Adding items to your maps is easy and also adding children and siblings is as simple as double-tapping the return key or spacebar.

              iThoughts has a ton of features to it and really is a full-fledge mind-mapping suite.

                Day One

                Day One is a neat little “diary or logging application”. We spoke about the benefits of logging your day recently and this app can help you do it with ease. Day One is built to make logging super fast with a click of the “plus” button to add a new entry. I use it almost like my own private Twitter. Anything I am thinking internally I just jot it down.

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                Day One can be synced via Dropbox and it also has a nifty reminder system to help you remember to journal something. Oh, and of course to hide your dear diary entries Day One includes a passcode lock.

                Removing the friction of writing is extremely important if you want to get good at it. These seven apps are what I consider to be the “best of the best” when it comes to planning and writing on your iPhone. Let us know in the comments of any other apps that help you write while you are mobile.

                More by this author

                CM Smith

                A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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                Last Updated on March 31, 2020

                Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

                Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

                Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

                So what changed?

                I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

                My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

                Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

                But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

                1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

                Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

                If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

                Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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                How to Tackle It?

                Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

                For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

                Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

                2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

                This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

                The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

                How to Tackle It?

                Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

                If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

                Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

                3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

                This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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                The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

                The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

                How to Tackle It?

                Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

                For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

                A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

                If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

                4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

                Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

                Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

                How to Tackle It?

                It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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                Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

                For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

                Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

                In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

                This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

                Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

                However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

                How to Tackle It?

                Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

                Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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                Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

                If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                Bottom Line

                I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

                You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

                I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

                I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

                Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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