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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.

    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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    Published on July 15, 2019

    10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

    10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

    Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

    Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

    At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

    You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

    That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

    So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

    1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

    Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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    Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

    2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

    Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

    This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

    However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

    3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

    I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

    With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

    4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

    This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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    Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

    For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

    5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

    A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

    It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

    6. Walk as Much as You Can 

    Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

    Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

    When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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    7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

    How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

    But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

    For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

    8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

    No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

    When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

    9. Practice Self Care 

    Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

    The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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    10. Embrace Learning 

    You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

    Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

    I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

    Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

    If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

    Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

    So start making your life better — today!

    Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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