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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 October 5, 2020

        10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

        10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

        The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

        Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

        Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

        In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

        Before You Download

        As you are no doubt aware, there are all kinds of calendar apps available. Instead of you sifting through the hundreds of them, we’ve handpicked 10 of the best calendar apps you can get. On top of glowing reviews from each one, we’ve considered the following aspects when creating this list:

        • User Interface – How you navigate the app should be smooth and simple. The buttons on the app should be clear, obvious and easy to move through.
        • Synchronization – Whether it’s with other calendar apps or with other apps, syncing apps should be easy and enhance your overall experience with the app.
        • Additional features – Since there are so many options for calendars, many of these apps offer additional features. These features make the apps stand out from the other apps and provide unique experiences to you.

        1. Any.do Calendar

          This calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

          Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

          What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

          Any.do Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

          Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

          Download Any.do Calendar here!

          2. Google Calendar

            Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

            Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

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            Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

            The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

            Download Google Calendar here.

            3. IRL Event Social Network

               

              One of the most unique apps on this list is the IRL Event Social Network app. As you can guess from the name, the core focus of this app is social networking. Unlike other social media platforms, you can consider this platform to function similar to Meetup.com. It’s a site where you can connect with other people within your area that share a similar interest.

              IRL is that while also providing a convenient calendar for you to schedule events and plan out your day. Though due to it being a secondary focus, you’re lacking a lot of the syncing aspects that other apps have on this list. Regardless, because of this huge social feature, it’s worth considering for those who want to make more connections.

              Download IRL Event Social Network here.

              4. Business Calendar

                Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

                The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

                You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

                The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

                Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

                Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

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                Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

                A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

                Download Business Calendar here.

                5. Calendar

                  Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

                  A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

                  Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

                  Download Calendar: Meeting & Scheduling here.

                  6. aCalendar

                    aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

                    Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

                    Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

                    When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

                    Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

                    The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

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                    The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

                    Download aCalendar here.

                    7. DigiCal Calendar

                      DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

                      With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

                      Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

                      The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

                      Download DigiCal Calendar here.

                      8. SolCalendar

                        SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

                        The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

                        Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

                        Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

                        Download SolCalendar here.

                        9. Today Calendar

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                          Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

                          The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

                          If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

                          Download Today Calendar here.

                          10. Timepage

                            Timepage is an intuitive calendar app that will manage your time in a way that other calendar apps can’t. It offers the same sort of functions that you’d expect from other calendar apps: opportunities to record events, notifications and reminders, weather, and driving duration to a particular event. However, the app goes beyond those functionalities in two ways.

                            The first way is that while the app sends you notifications, it also has reminders for you for what is coming up next. That bit of extra time can allow you to prepare and make adjustments to your day if need be.

                            The second function – which is more important – is the heat map when you go to see the full view of your calendar. This heat map indicates what days you are most busy and other days where you are freer. This heat map provides a quick glance to determine broadly what days are good to add more events and other tasks.

                            Download Timepage here.

                            Our Verdict

                            Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

                            Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

                            Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

                            The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

                            More Productivity Apps for Better Time Management

                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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