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Become More Productive With Launch Center Pro for iPhone

Become More Productive With Launch Center Pro for iPhone

With the release of Launch Center Pro (LCP) a few weekends ago, there has been a storm of excitement of what the app offers and opens up in your iPhone. Because of the restrictions in iOS 5, you can’t use the cool settings hacks that we talked about before, but with the new prompt tag and some creativity in creating new actions, LCP is one of the best apps to become more productive with your iPhone.

Here are a few actions you can add to Launch Center Pro.

Maps

Rather than simply opening the Maps app on iPhone with LCP, you can also use the “built in” Google Maps API to some things like:

Launch Center Pro - Maps

    Search is a little awkward because you can’t give the Maps app your exact location (“Current Location” doesn’t work). But, you can use Safari and the Google Maps app to search instead, Maps will use your current location when you pass the “CURRENTLOCATION” parameter.

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    http://maps.google.com/maps?CURRENTLOCATION&q=[prompt]

    Directions

    You can setup a nice shortcut to get direction from here (current location) to there (an input search) or even from here (current location) to your home.

    From here to there: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Current+Location&daddr=[prompt]

    From here to home (or anywhere else): http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Current+Location&daddr=your+address+here+seperated+by+pluses

    From home to there: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=your+address+here&daddr=[prompt]

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    Search Engines

    Launch Center Pro - Search engines

      One of my favorite things about the new LCP is the use of the prompt and how it will correctly encode your input strings to HTTP encoding when necessary. With this, you can input a ‘[prompt]’ into a search URL for any website that uses search paramters. After submitting your search, LCP will open up Safari with your URL. Here are some of my favorites:

      • DuckDuckGo: http://duckduckgo.com/q?[prompt]
      • Twitter: http://twitter.com/search/[prompt]
      • Stackoverflow: http://stackoverflow.com/search?q=[prompt]
      • Namecheap: http://www.namecheap.com/domains/domain-name-search/results.aspx?domain=[prompt]&tlds=&searchall=&type=single
      • Wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=[prompt]
      • eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=[prompt]

      To get these types of URLs, simply do a search on the site you want to be able to use LCP with, look for the portion of the URL that has your search string, and replace it with an LCP prompt tag. Having all of your search engines and sites in one screen is highly productive and efficient.

      OmniFocus

      If you are an OmniFocus user, then LCP is a dream come true as it works hand-in-hand. OmniFocus supports LCP out of the box with its “standard” add a new item with just a name, new item with name a note, or simply to launch the OmniFocus app.

      But, last weekend, Lifehack contributor and overall badass, Michael Schechter took LCP and OmniFocus integration to a new level with his excellent way of setting up the most common input types of actions that you would need for a true GTD system. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will let Mike explain the process.

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      But, in a nutshell, you can setup “static” OmniFocus item names like “follow up with Jim regarding” and then put fill out the rest of the item. It can save a ton of time, especially when you are writing similar actions over and over again.

      Another nice addition to Schechter’s OmniFocus workflow is the use of OmniFocus task, context, perspective, and search URLs. You can create a LCP shortcut URL with the following:

      OF context: omnifocus:///context/nogpCbUAcLg
      OF task: omnifocus:///task/oLNpkpCtxhx
      OF perspective: omnifocus:///perspective/Waiting%20For

      To get the links for contexts and tasks you have to have OF for Mac. You simply right click the context or task and choose Copy as Link to get the unique identifier. For the perspectives you simply add ‘%20’ for each space in the perspective name. Only context mode perspective work at this moment, not project mode. If you don’t understand that, you don’t need to.

      Specific time or situation workflow in LCP

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      Launch Center Pro - Morning workflow

        Another use that I have found with LCP is that you can setup some time or situation group launchers. For instance, say you have a ‘Morning’ group. Under this group you can have actions like ‘Write 750 words’ and it launches Byword (or some other writing app) with a new document, ‘Meditate’ with Due being launched with a timer already set for a certain amount of time, your weather app to check the weather, Calendar to see your plans, and even your OmniFocus ‘Waiting for’ perspective to see what fires you have to light in the morning.

        The idea of this workflow is to let LCP guide you through a routine situation by launching disparate apps and taking specific actions within those apps. This can help focus you and keep your moving through a routine of work.

        With this in mind you could setup groups for work, getting home, before bed, etc.

        Launch Center Pro is one of my new favorite apps. The idea of getting into the “guts” of an iOS app with the iOS URL schema is something desirable, and to be honest, will be something I consider before using any apps regularly going forward because of the increase of speed and efficiency in my workflow.

        Do you have any other good LCP hacks that you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

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        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 25, 2019

        7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

        7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

        Project management doesn’t need to be a complicated thing, not if you have apps that make things a whole lot simpler. When you have project management apps, you can take care of your team, tasks and deadlines, without even being in the office. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to get most of the apps you might need.

        Here are the 7 best project management apps to super boost your team’s productivity:

        1. Basecamp

          It’s probably the most well-known project management app out there. It allows you to organize projects that act as a central location for everything and contains such things as to-do lists, notes, events, files, and much more.

          It is user-friendly, and has a free 30-day trial period. After that, the plan is $99 per month.

          Find out more about Basecamp here.

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          2. Asana

            If you are looking for something that is not difficult to use, check out Asana. This is a great task management app that can be used for managing projects as well.

            In a nutshell, Asana helps you create and share task lists with your team. The app is simple but smart enough and has got a lot of integrations. Teams with up to 15 members can use Asana for free. Teams with 15 members and up can choose plans that range from $10.99 per month.

            Find out more about Asana here.

            3. Casual

              This is a unique app that offers a different way of doing things. On Casual, you plan your tasks just by drawing them as a flowchart. The neat thing is that Casual helps you visualize and track dependencies between tasks.

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              This app is incredibly intuitive and works great for personal projects, as well as for organizing projects for small teams. You can try it for free, and if you don’t like it, there is no obligation to pay for anything.

              Find out more about Casual here.

              4. Trello

                This app is incredibly user-friendly, and is based on Kanban boards. It actually works like a virtual whiteboard with post-it-notes.

                Trello is great for organizing your to-do lists, ideas, and is very easy to use. You can create several boards to use for various projects, and it’s free of cost. Trello is available to iOS and Android users as well.

                Find out more about Trello here.

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                5. OmniPlan

                  This is an awesome app for iPhone and iPad users. If you love Gantt charts, this is definitely an app that you can get a lot out of.

                  You start out by creating a simple project outline. Then you can use the app to help you through every step of the project until its completion.

                  A standard plan for iOS costs just $99.99, and the pro plan is only $199.99.

                  Find out more about OmniPlan here.

                  6. Podio

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                    This is a great app for medium and large-sized teams working on projects. The special point about Podio is that there are additional features such as CRM and social intranet.

                    There are four different packages: Free, which is free for up to five employees and five external users; Basic, which is $9 per month per employee; Plus, which is $14 per month per employee, and Premium, which is $24 per month per employee.

                    Find out more about Podio here.

                    7. Microsoft Project

                      This is one of the most commonly-used project management apps. However, it is also one of the most difficult apps to use. It does have a lot of features that are popular with project managers, which is why we have chosen to include in on this list. You can customize reports, track burn rates, and stay on track until projects are complete.

                      The basic plan starts with $7 per month, which allows you project team members to collaborate in the cloud, via web browser or mobile.

                      Find out more about Microsoft Project here.

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                      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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