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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.

        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 January 13, 2020

        11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

        11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

        Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

        Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

        Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

        1. Lumosity

        This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

        Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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        Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

          2. Fit Brains Trainer

          This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

          Free.

          Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

            3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

            Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

            First four games free, then $13 a month.

            cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

              4. Brain Fitness Pro

              The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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              Buy for $3.99.

              5. Happify

              If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

              Free to use.

              Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                6. Clockwork Brain

                You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

                Free.

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                Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                  7. ReliefLink

                  Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                  Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                    8. Eidetic

                    Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                    Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                      9. Braingle

                      Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                      Free.

                      Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                        10. Not The Hole Story

                        If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                        Free.

                        Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                          11. Personal Zen

                          This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                          Free.

                          personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                            Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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