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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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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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