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Why I Write With My iPhone

Why I Write With My iPhone

    I write more than the average bear and I try to write every single day no matter what. Whether it be a couple of sentences or my 750 words habit, writing is something that I enjoy doing.

    With the release of the iPad in 2010 there have been a slew of writers taking to its portable and sleek design. It can easily be taken anywhere and is quick to hook up to a Bluetooth keyboard, open a writing app, and go to town.

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    Because of this we have also seen a ton of new writing apps hit the iOS App Store in the last year or so. We have outlined some of the best iPhone writing apps here on Lifehack and I have to say that every month or so there is something new that tends to impress and leads me to purchase.

    But, typing on the iPad isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, I do most of my mobile writing on iPhone. Here’s why.

    Portrait, fast keyboard, small screen

    There have been recent improvements to the iPad’s keyboard on the new version of iOS allowing the user to slit the keyboard and touch type. It’s pretty awesome and works OK in practice. But there is nothing like flying on a portrait iPhone keyboard. I can even “fat thumb” my way through an article and iOS is smart enough to know what I want to say 90% of the time.

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    The small screen of the iPhone limits me to a small portion of text in the window that I can view. This helps me not think too much about what I am writing and focus more on getting ideas down fast. I can go back later and change things up. The reduced amount of text on my screen helps me concentrate on the act of writing.

    The portrait keyboard on the iPhone is spaced almost perfectly for my hands and allows me to type much faster than on my iPad, even with the new split keyboard. Some say, “well then use a Bluetooth keyboard, you jackal”. To that, I speak my next point.

    Anywhere I go

    The iPhone is the most ubiquitous tool I have ever used in my life. Maybe second only to a piece of paper and a trusty Uniball Vision RT. But, my point is that the iPhone is glued to my hip all the time. When I’m in line at Starbucks. At my desk. With Siri and a headset in my car. Everywhere I go.

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    And because of this ubiquity, I can jot down a couple of sentences for a post anywhere. Now, with Siri and voice dictation I can “write” while driving. The iPhone is truly a “write anywhere” type of tool and because of that I prefer it over the iPad or even my home PC (because I can lay down in bed while writing).

    When a tool for writing and getting thoughts down is with you anywhere the resistance to create is lowered and the excuses of why you aren’t doing it are turned into bullshit.

    How to do it for yourself

    OK, so maybe I have convinced you that your iPhone is the way you should write. If so, here are some tools for your iPhone writing that can help you out.

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    TextExpander Touch

    This is downright the best tool for text expansion on any platform. Give TextExander something long that you normally type, even longer words, assign a “snippet” to it (a shorter piece of text) and type away, friend.

    Evernote

    If you want to talk about ubiquity of writing and note taking then Evernote can’t be left from the conversation. I have had some qualms with Evernote in the recent past, mostly because of data portability, but after listening to a recent Mac Power Users I have decided to give Evernote another look and try. In fact, I am writing this sentence in Evernote on my iPhone.

    Notesy

    If you are a plain text, Markdown kind of animal then Notesy for iPhone is what you want to work with. It’s simple, fast, has Markdown previews, integrates with TextExpander Touch, and syncs with Dropbox. What more can you ask for?

    A wired headset

    If you want to dictate with your shiny new iPhone 4S or even use Dragon Dictate for your “lesser” iPhone to get text down on the go, then all you need is a decent wire headset. The one that comes with the iPhone is OK, but I “upgraded” to the Apple in-ear headset. The results are great.

    So, to keep my writing habit alive I find that writing on my iPhone is one of the most pleasurable and frictionless ways to do it. It helps me stay focused and allows me to do it anywhere. Give it a try and see how your iPhone can help in your writing habit.

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    20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a daily plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a time limit to each task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    Google Calendar is great – I use it. It’s even better if you can sync it to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are.

    Here’s more tips about how to use calendar for better time management: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    Check out these Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools and pick the ones that fit your needs.

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    5. Know your deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to be early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time box your activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a clock visibly placed before you

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set reminders 15 minutes before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    Find out more here about how reminders help you remember everything.

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track your time spent

    Egg Timer is a simple online countdown timer. You key in the amount of time you want it to track (example: “30 minutes”, “1 hour”) and it’ll count down in the background. When the time is up,the timer will beep. Great way to be aware of your time spent.

    But besides Egg Timer, you can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that fits yourself the best.

    14. Don’t fuss about unimportant details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch similar tasks together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate your time wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off when you need to

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave buffer time in-between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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